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Gaining Strength

Recognizing three accomplished researchers in the fields of precision prevention, hormone and cell metabolism and neuro-oncology who joined the cancer center in 2023.
Dr. Weitzel wears black and stands in front of a black background

Jeffrey Weitzel, MD, joined The University of Kansas Cancer Center as its inaugural director of Precision Prevention as well as professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Kansas Medical Center. Dr. Weitzel has pioneered the implementation of genetics and genomics in clinical care, addressing disparities and harnessing technical advances to conduct innovative translational research. He was one of the first physicians to complete formal fellowships and hold board certifications in both medical oncology and clinical genetics. 

Prior to joining the cancer center, Dr. Weitzel served as chief of the Division of Clinical Cancer Genomics and the Cancer Screening and Prevention Program at City of Hope. He also founded the Clinical Cancer Genomics Community Research Network. One overarching theme of his work is combining precision prevention and implementation science to address disparities in access to healthcare. Dr. Weitzel has made substantial contributions to our understanding of hereditary cancers and how to apply this knowledge for enhanced cancer screening and prevention. A Breast Cancer Research Foundation Scholar for work implementing genomic risk assessment in low resource settings in Latin America, he was awarded the Conquer Cancer Research Professorship in Breast Cancer Disparities at the American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting in 2020.

Dr. Brown wears black while sitting in front of a black background

Kristy A. Brown, PhD, has been appointed associate professor of Metabolism and Cancer in the Department of Cell Biology and Physiology and co-leader of the cancer center’s Cancer Prevention and Control research program. Prior to joining the cancer center, Dr. Brown was associate professor of Biochemistry in Medicine and the Emilie Lippmann and Janice Jacobs McCarthy Research Scholar in Breast Cancer at Weill Cornell Medicine. She chaired the Committee on Resources, Benefits and Professional Environment of the General Faculty Council of Weill Cornell Medicine and co-chaired the Translational Pipeline Committee and was a representative of the Cancer Biology Program for the Community Advisory Board of the Meyer Cancer Center. Internationally renowned for her work underpinning the molecular relationship between obesity and breast cancer, Dr. Brown and her team have made seminal contributions to our understanding of aromatase regulation in the breast, the role of obesity-associated factors in driving cancer development and progression and more recently, the impact of poor metabolic health on cancer risk in women with genetic predispositions to cancer. 

Dr. Brown served as co-editor in chief of the journal, Endocrine and Metabolic Science, and she is associate editor of Endocrinology and the Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Dr. Brown has received R01-level funding from the National Health and Medical Research Council (Australia), the National Breast Cancer Foundation (Australia) and the National Cancer Institute.

Dr. Rodriguez wears black and stands in front of a black background

Andrew Rodriguez, MD, has been appointed assistant professor of neuro-oncology in the Departments of Neurosurgery and Neurology. Prior to joining the cancer center, Dr. Rodriguez was a neuro-oncology fellow physician at MD Anderson Cancer Center and neurology resident physician at the Mayo Clinic. His areas of focus include primary brain tumors including glioblastoma and low-grade glioma, brain metastases, spinal tumors and leptomeningeal disease. Dr. Rodriguez is passionate about patient-centered care, research and high-quality education to patients, families and medical trainees.

Dr. Rodriguez is working with the cancer center to enhance brain cancer care through clinical trials, informatics and other research efforts. He is a co-investigator of several clinical trials within the cancer center and a member of the Society for Neuro-Oncology and the American Academy of Neurology.

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