Director's Message: Case CCC Annual Scientific Retreat Wrap-Up

The 2018 Case Comprehensive Cancer Center Annual Scientific Retreat focused on the interface between the strategic scientific initiatives and the 7 Research Programs, to help link innovative efforts with the breadth of research of our members.  The program was a resounding success with terrific presentations from 22 members plus 9 trainees (more about them below) [view agenda] .

I would especially point out the areas of drug discovery, immune oncology, disparities and community research, and cancer genomics as broad efforts across many of our research programs.

Lunchtime break-out sessions allowed the Program Leaders to assess priorities, update their specific aims and themes, and to encourage working groups pursuing multi-investigator grants. I have set as a priority supporting your efforts to pursue larger grants and to link across scientific disciplines to do so. We also have an Innovation grant RFA that just closed that will be the first of a number of efforts to encourage risk-taking research.  Our strategic plan will be updated as a result and will impact recruitments, new equipment and enhancements to our research shared resources.

Finally, my comments were the least important, but since a number of you have asked, here is the link to the slides presented: [ view slides].  They include notice of the new NCI initiatives in population sciences, immune oncology and novel therapeutics. Thursday, I presented an introduction of the 23 new members over the past year, plus our Exceptional review score and new Shared Resource equipment [view slides]. 

As always, your input is needed and appreciated. Most often, your input results in a focus for investment and for research.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Trainee Poster Session Winners

Congratulations to the 9 Case CCC Distinguished Trainees!   These trainees were selected as the top poster presentations during the Thursday evening poster session, and were invited to present one-minute elevator speeches to Cancer Center members during Friday's program. Their presentations were outstanding!  

  • Benjamin Bryson - Postdoc, Mentor: Mark Jackson, "Senescence prevents the expansion of pre-malignant mesenchymal cells with cancer stem cell properties" 
  • Lauren Huang - Undergraduate Student, Mentor: Agne Petrosiute, "Positive effect of PD-L1/PD1 engagement for optimal t-cell activation during early anti-tumor immune priming as assessed by in vitro dentritic cell-induced t cell proliferation"
  • Natasha Ingles - Graduate Student, Mentor: Ruth Keri, "BCL11A induction of matrix metalloproteases may be necessary for invasion  of triple-negative breast cancer"
  • Alyssa La Belle Flynn - Graduate Student, Mentor: William  Schiemann, "Pfkfb3 mediates breast cancer metastatic dormancy by modulating autophagy through interaction with p62/SQSTM1"
  • William Samsa - Fellow, Mentor:  Guang  Zhou "The crucial p53-dependent oncogenic role of JAB1 in osteosarcoma pathogenesis"
  • Darcie Seachrist - Graduate Student, Mentor: Ruth Keri, "The breast cancer stem cell factor, BCL11A, induces triple-negative breast cancer invasion and metastasis by suppressing MBNL1-associated alternative splicing"
  • Jacob Smigiel - Postdoc, Mentor: Mark Jackson, "Oncostatin M drives divergent mesenchymal and tumor initiating programs"
  • Julianne Smith - Postdoc, Mentors: Amar Desai,  Sanford Markowitz, "Impact of 15-PGDH inhibition on bone marrow pathogenesis"
  • Lindsay Stetson - Postdoc, Mentor: David Wald, "Acute myeloid leukemia stem cell heterogeneity and clonal expansion  during disease progression and relapse"