• Awards and Honors

    A selection of awards recently earned by Dana-Farber and our staff

    April – July 2014

    The Institute

    Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center is the nation's top pediatric cancer program, according to U.S.News & World Report's 2014-15 Best Children's Hospitals report. Boston Children's Hospital ranked first in eight of the 10 categories — including cancer — that U.S. News evaluates, more than any other children's hospital in the country.

    Dana-Farber has earned Magnet® status from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) for the third time. This prestigious designation recognizes excellence in nursing and health care delivery.

    Joining a series of leaders from politics, education, music, and sports, Dana-Farber President Edward J. Benz Jr., MD, shared the breakthroughs and challenges of personalized cancer treatment as part of a TEDx event at the University of Massachusetts Boston. In keeping with the theme of the April 30 symposium, "Lighting the Way for the Future," Benz discussed the next steps in cancer research and care.

    Individuals

    Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF), a nonprofit dedicated to finding cures for children with cancer, has awarded 2014 Innovation Grants of $250,000 each over two years to Rani George, MD, PhD, for "Targeting MYC/MYCN-driven Transcriptional Amplification in Pediatric Cancer"; to Thomas Look, MD, for "Role of LMO1 in Neuroblastoma Initiation and Maintenance: Analysis in the Zebrafish Model of Childhood Neuroblastoma"; and to Rosalind Segal, MD, PhD, for "Therapies for SHH-subtype Medulloblastoma".

    The Cancer Research Institute will bestow its top scientific prize for breakthrough discoveries in cancer immunotherapy to Gordon Freeman, PhD, at its annual awards dinner. Dr. Freeman and three other researchers will receive the prize for their collective contributions to the discovery of the programmed cell death-1 (PD-1) receptor pathway, a new immune system checkpoint that has been shown in clinical studies to be a highly promising target in cancer immunotherapy.

    The annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), held in San Diego, cast a spotlight on the work of Dana-Farber scientists. Some highlights:

    • Stand Up To Cancer and the Farrah Fawcett Foundation announced a research grant to a team led by Dana-Farber's Ellis L. Reinherz, MD, and Robert I. Haddad, MD.
    • Leena Gandhi, MD, PhD, of Medical Oncology, presented research on a promising way of predicting which patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) are most likely to benefit from a drug that unleashes an immune system attack on tumor cells.
    • William Kaelin, Jr., MD, chair of the Executive Committee for Research at Dana-Farber; Frederick Li, MD, an emeritus member of the Dana-Farber faculty; and David Livingston, MD, deputy director of Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center, were formally inducted as elected fellows of the AACR Academy.
    • The AACR and its Minorities in Cancer Research membership group awarded Levi Garraway, MD, PhD, of Medical Oncology, with the Jane Cooke Wright Lectureship. The lectureship recognizes outstanding scientists who have made meritorious contributions to the field of cancer research and who have, through leadership or by example, furthered the advancement of minority investigators in cancer research.

    The 50th annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) was attended by 33,000 physicians and scientists from the U.S. and abroad, as well as a cohort of journalists, patient advocates, and biotech and pharmaceutical company representatives. Dana-Farber researchers presented results from dozens of ongoing and completed studies. Here is some of the research they presented:

    • Joyce Liu, MD, MPH, of the Susan F. Smith Center for Women's Cancers reported that, in a phase 2 clinical trial, a combination of olaparib (a drug that blocks DNA repair in cancer cells) and cediranib (which blocks blood vessel growth in tumors) was considerably more effective in women with recurrent ovarian cancer than olaparib alone.
    • Christopher Sweeney, MBBS, of the Lank Center for Genitourinary Oncology, reported that, in a phase 3 trial, men with newly diagnosed, metastatic, hormone-sensitive prostate cancer lived more than a year longer when they received a chemotherapy drug as initial treatment rather than waiting for the disease to become resistant to hormone-blocking agents.
    • Pasi A. Jänne, MD, PhD, director of the Lowe Center for Thoracic Oncology, presented data from a phase 1 trial showing that a new, more precisely targeted drug shrank tumors in about half of non-small cell lung cancer patients whose tumors no longer responded to conventional targeted drugs.
    • F. Stephen Hodi, MD, director of the Melanoma Treatment Center, reported that the immunotherapy drug nivolumab continues to have long-term effectiveness against metastatic melanoma, achieving a three-year survival rate of 41 percent in patients participating in a phase 1 trial of the drug.

    Several Dana-Farber faculty members also received awards at the meeting. They include: Ann Partridge, MD, MPH, director of the Institute's Adult Survivorship Program, who was named an ASCO Fellow; Andrew Place, MD, PhD, who received the James B. Nachman ASCO Junior Faculty Award in Pediatric Oncology, given to the junior faculty member who submitted the highest-ranking research abstract in pediatric oncology as determined by the ASCO Scientific Program Committee; and Matthew Davids, MD, who received a Career Development Award. Young Investigator Awards were bestowed on Franklin Huang, MD, Junne Kamihara, MD, PhD, and Kent Mouw, MD, PhD.

    Ken Anderson, MD, was honored by the Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation for his research in developing novel therapies for forms of cancer that are notoriously difficult to treat. He received the David T. Workman Memorial Award on May 12 at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. Anderson was also named the 2014 Zubrod Distinguished Guest Lecturer by the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

    George Canellos, MD, William Rosenberg Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and senior physician in the Adult Lymphoma Program at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center, was recognized with an honorary doctorate in humanities from the Hellenic College Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, Massachusetts, where he also delivered the commencement address May 17.

    A new book co-edited by clinical fellow Curtis Chong, MD, PhD, is becoming standard equipment for many primary care providers in the United States and abroad. Pocket Primary Care, published in March, is a concise point of reference for physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and other professionals working in outpatient settings.

    George Demetri, MD, senior vice president for Experimental Therapeutics and director of the Center for Sarcoma and Bone Oncology, received the Sarcoma Foundation of America's 2014 Vision of Hope Award at the foundation's 12th Annual Gala on May 5 in New York City.

    Three Dana-Farber researchers were among 32 grant recipients at the annual American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) meeting, held in April in San Diego, California. Hugh S. Gannon, PhD, in the laboratory of Matthew Meyerson, MD, PhD, received the AACR Anna D. Barker Fellowship in Basic Cancer Research grant. Marios Giannakis, MD, PhD, in the laboratory of Levi Garraway, MD, PhD, was awarded the Colon Cancer Alliance-AACR Fellowship for Biomarker Research. Andrew Lee Hong, MD, in the lab of William C. Hahn, MD, PhD, received the AACR-Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO Young Investigator Translational Cancer Research Award.

    Wolfram Goessling, MD, PhD, David Rosenthal, MD, and the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center Faith-Based Cancer Disparities Network were recently named honorees at "the one hundred" gala, an annual event sponsored by Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center. The program celebrates individuals and organizations leading the fight against cancer.

    Eva Guinan, MD, director of translational research in Radiation Oncology at Dana-Farber and former director of the Stem Cell Transplant Program at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, was promoted to full professor of radiation oncology at Harvard Medical School.

    Nancy Hilton, RN, MS, director of nursing and clinical services for Yawkey 10, Yawkey 6, and Imaging, is one of two nurses selected to represent the Oncology Nursing Society on the Ambulatory Care Professional and Technical Advisory Committee of the Joint Commission.

    Four Dana-Farber researchers recently received Young Investigator Grants from Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation. The two-year grants of $100,000 help investigators pursue promising research in treatments for childhood cancer. The Dana-Farber grant recipients include:

    • Zhaodong Li, PhD, who is studying the biology of T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia to identify new, targeted therapies to treat the disease
    • Brenton Mar, MD, PhD, who is studying chemotherapy resistance in relapsed acute lymphoblastic leukemia
    • Yana Pikman, MD, who is studying new therapies for acute myeloid leukemia
    • Kristopher Sarosiek, PhD, who is working to prevent brain and heart damage induced by radiation or chemotherapy treatments in pediatric cancer patients

    Nikhil C. Munshi, MD, director for basic and correlative sciences and associate director of Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center's Jerome Lipper Myeloma Center, has been promoted to full professor in medical oncology at Harvard Medical School.

    May 6 kicked off National Nurses Week. Each year, the Boston Globe compiles a "Salute to Nurses" that highlights some of the front-line clinicians, nominated by patients and colleagues, who work in area hospitals. The following Dana-Farber nurses were honored this year:

    • Infusion 10th floor
    • Shahrzad Bahrehmand, RN, BSN
    • Annie Beauchemin, RN
    • Kerry Beliveau, RN, BSN
    • Brenda Biggins, BSN
    • Marianne Castano, RN, BSN
    • Michael Comeau, MSN, CPON 
    • Heather Cushing, RN, BSN, OCN
    • Rachel Enos, RN
    • Kristen Graham, BSN, RN, CPON
    • Allison Hester, RN, BSN, OCN
    • Catherine Hulme-Freudenberger, RN, BSN, MS
    • Robin MacNeil, RN, BSN
    • Cullene Murphy, RN, BSN, OCN
    • Diane Ransom, RN, BSN, OCN
    • Caroline Sheehan, RN, BSN
    • Larry Traiman, RN
    • Christin Whalenn, RN, BSN, OCN
    • Marie Zano, RN, BSN, OCN

    Amanda Randles, PhD, visiting scientist in Biostatistics and Computational Biology at Dana-Farber and a Lawrence Fellow at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, addressed the role of supercomputers in diagnosing heart disease at the Cambridge Science Festival's annual Big Ideas for Busy People event.

    Ramesh Shivdasani, MD, PhD, physician-scientist in the Center for Gastrointestinal Oncology, was promoted to the rank of full professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

    Glorian Sorensen, MD, MPH, has received federal funding for research on smoking cessation measures in India. This pilot study builds on a previous study funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) that showed the efficacy of a tobacco use cessation intervention with schoolteachers, who are key opinion leaders in their communities.

    Kimberly Stegmaier, MD, associate professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and pediatric oncologist at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, received a Clifford Barger Excellence in Mentoring Award from Harvard Medical School (HMS). Fifteen other Dana-Farber faculty members were nominated for HMS mentoring awards, including Brian Alexander, MD, MPH; Tracy Balboni, MD, MPH; Dipanjan Chowdhury, PhD; Irene Ghobrial, MD; Harley Haynes, MD; Philip Kantoff, MD; A. Thomas Look, MD; Paul Nguyen, MD; Nikhil Ramaiya, MD; Jerome Ritz, MD; Carlos Rodriguez-Galindo, MD; Barrett Rollins, MD, PhD; Stephen E. Sallan, MD; Rosalind Segal, MD, PhD; and Catherine Wu, MD.

    Kasisomayajula "Vish" Viswanath, PhD, associate professor in the Division of Population Sciences at Dana-Farber and in social and behavioral sciences at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), was promoted to the rank of full professor of health communications at HSPH.

    Xiaofeng Wang, PhD, a pediatric research fellow at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, has been awarded a $50,000 grant from the Rally Foundation for Childhood Cancer Research for research on a lethal cancer of early childhood.

    The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has appointed David Weinstock, MD, to serve on the National Biodefense Science Board, an advisory group that provides recommendations on federal disaster preparedness.

    Susan Wills, clinical strategic sourcing lead in Materials Management, and her Product Standards team received an Amerinet Healthcare Achievement Award. Wills and her team implemented a product conversion process and accompanying checklist, as a way to convert to new clinical products more efficiently.

    Kwok-Kin Wong, MD, PhD, of the Lowe Center for Thoracic Oncology and scientific director of the Belfer Institute for Applied Cancer Science at Dana-Farber, was promoted to the rank of full professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

    Two researchers have received a $100,000 grant to test a novel combination of therapies in Dana Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center (DF/BWCC) patients with chronic graft-versus-host disease resulting from stem cell transplant. John Koreth, MBBS, DPhil, a medical oncologist in the Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Adult Stem Cell Transplantation Program, and William Savage, MD, PhD, medical director of therapeutic apheresis at Brigham and Women's Hospital, received the grant from Fresenius-Kabi, a global health care company.

    January – April 2014

    The Institute

    Last year's Jimmy Fund Big Ideas Contest was a great success for the Division of Development and the Jimmy Fund. Now it's a winner again. The competition, in which the general public was asked to create and submit "big" fundraising ideas for consideration by Dana-Farber, has received the premier "Award for Excellence" from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). The honor was bestowed on March 27 at the annual conference of the Group on Institutional Advancement, the external relations arm of the AAMC.

    In a ceremony at Fenway Park on March 26, Dana-Farber was given a 2013 Excellence in Commuter Options (ECO) Award for promoting and advancing bicycle commuting at Dana-Farber. The ECO Awards, sponsored by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and state advocacy groups MassCommute and MassRIDES, celebrate Massachusetts employers and their efforts to reduce congestion and greenhouse gas emissions by encouraging workers to utilize green transportation options. There are three levels of compliance noted by the ECO Awards; Dana-Farber achieved the highest (pinnacle) level, along with a special "Spotlight Award" for its efforts in the area of bicycling.

    A study by Dana-Farber researchers and their colleagues that found reduced death rates for people who eat a daily handful of nuts was chosen by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) as one of the "top 10 Research Highlights" published in population science in 2013. The Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program (EGRP) of the NCI reviewed manuscripts published last year and selected 10 studies — all funded by EGRP — that were "deemed to have the greatest potential for scientific and/or public health impact." Charles Fuchs, MD, MPH, director of the Gastrointestinal Treatment Center at Dana-Farber, was the senior author of the nut study, which was published in November in the New England Journal of Medicine.

    Last September, Dana-Farber was lauded by the Boston Globe for having the highest vaccination rate in 2013 for Massachusetts hospitals, with 99 percent of staff receiving a flu vaccine. But 99 percent was not enough for DFCI's Infection Control/Occupational Health departments, and for the 2013-14 flu season, Dana-Farber has achieved 100 percent compliance for flu vaccination.

    Individuals

    The American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) has awarded Stuart H. Orkin, MD, David G. Nathan Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, Chairman of the Department of Pediatric Oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Associate Chief of Hematology/Oncology at Boston Children's Hospital, and Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at Boston Children's Hospital, its 2014 annual William Allan Award. The Allan Award recognizes a scientist for substantial and far-reaching scientific contributions to human genetics.

    Five scientists from Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center (DF/BWCC) and Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center will receive 2014 Scholar Awards from the American Society of Hematology (ASH). Ranging from $100,000 to $150,000, the awards support the research of fellows and junior faculty during the "perilous and uncertain time" of transition from training to becoming independent investigators, said ASH President Janis L. Abkowitz, MD. The five local recipients are Suneet Agarwal, MD, PhD, of Dana-Farber/Boston Children's; and Ami Bhatt, MD, PhD; Andrew Lane, MD, PhD; Sarah Nikiforow, MD, PhD; and Baochun Zhang, MD, PhD, all of DF/BWCC.

    The Institute's Clinical Faculty Council (CFC) and Office for Faculty Development recently honored four clinicians with the annual Clinical Faculty Awards. The awards were announced at this year's Clinical Faculty Brunch held at the Museum of Science. Jennifer R. Brown, MD, PhD, director of the Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Center, and Carlos Rodriguez-Galindo, MD, director of the Pediatric Solid Tumor Center, were each honored with an Innovation Award. This award is given to clinicians who provide outstanding patient care and show commitment to clinical research. Susan C. Lester, MD, PhD, chief of Breast Pathology, received the Bridging Boundaries Award for her dedication to oncology and ability to work with other disciplines. Harold J. Burstein, MD, PhD, a medical oncologist in the Susan F. Smith Center for Women's Cancers Breast Oncology Program, received the Clinical Mentoring Award for serving as an outstanding example for trainees.

    Laura Caravetta, RHIA, information security and privacy analyst at Dana-Farber, received the Outstanding New Professional Award from the Massachusetts Health Information Management Association. This award recognizes the best new talent in health information management and the winner's potential for future leadership and innovation.

    Curtis Chong, MD, PhD, a Medical Oncology fellow in the laboratory of Pasi Jänne, MD, PhD, has received a two-year, $100,000 career training grant from Uniting Against Lung Cancer.

    The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) has named three Dana-Farber scientists recipients of its Scholar Awards, which provide more than $500,000 in research support over five years. The recipients are Dipanjan Chowdhury, PhD, of Radiation Oncology; Loren Walensky, MD, PhD, of Pediatric Oncology; and Catherine Wu, MD, of Medical Oncology.

    Amy Federico, RN, CPNP, nurse practitioner at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, received the 2014 "Above and Beyond" Award from the Mill Foundation for Kids. The foundation raises money for toys and other gifts for children to brighten their hospital stay. Joe Chabot, MS; Lilliana Lopera-Jimenez, BS; and Patricia White, BSW, of Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Pediatric Resource Program, also received an Above and Beyond Award from the Mill Foundation this year for their support of pediatric patients and their families.

    Dana-Farber researcher Nathanael Gray, PhD, was recently awarded the 2013 Meyenburg Cancer Research Award for his work in discovering several kinase inhibitors that have helped in the development of targeted cancer treatments.

    Cigall Kadoch, PhD, assistant professor of pediatric oncology at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, was named to Forbes' annual "30 Under 30" list for science and health care.

    Dana-Farber physician-scientist William G. Kaelin, MD, and three other investigators will receive the 13th annual Wiley Prize in Biomedical Sciences. They are being honored for discoveries that revealed a molecular mechanism in animal cells that allows them to sense oxygen and respond to dangerously low oxygen levels.

    Dana-Farber Senior Energy Manager Rick Malmstrom, CPE, CEM, was recently appointed to the Massachusetts Energy Efficiency Advisory Council, a 15-member group that works with Massachusetts utility companies to develop energy-saving initiatives for the state. Malmstrom will represent the business community of Massachusetts, a position he hopes will benefit Dana-Farber and the Longwood Medical Area (LMA) as a whole.

    A research team headed by Ursula Matulonis, MD, received a grant from the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation (OCRF) to test new combinations of targeted drugs against the disease. Matulonis is the principal investigator of the $900,000 program project development grant from OCRF, which marked its 20th anniversary by awarding $6.9 million in research and program grants to support gynecologic cancer patients.

    Sandra McAllister, PhD, a member of Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center (DF/HCC), associate scientist of hematology at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH), and assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, received the "Presidential Early Career" Award for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor early-stage science and engineering research professionals can receive from the United States government. McAllister is one of 23 health and human services professionals of 102 overall recipients.

    Security Director News named Ralph Nerette, manager of security services at Dana-Farber, to its 2013 "20 Under 40" list. The annual list recognizes 20 of the most accomplished security professionals under age 40, who are nominated by the business security magazine's readers and selected by its editors.

    Dana-Farber volunteer Allan Osborne recently received the "Spirit of Hope" Award from the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF). The award is given annually to someone who has inspired hope through commitment to the MMRF mission. Osborne is being honored with the award for his work with MMRF and his volunteering at Dana-Farber.

    Kasisomayajula "Vish" Viswanath, PhD, director of the Health Communications Core at Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center (DF/HCC), professor in the department of medical oncology at Dana-Farber, and professor of health communications at the Harvard School of Public Health, recently received two national honors. Viswanath received the Joseph W. Cullen Award from the American Society of Preventive Oncology. He is also the recipient of the inaugural Dale E. Brashers Award from the National Communication Association.

    Catherine J. Wu, MD, physician in the Adult Stem Cell Transplantation Program at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center and Dana-Farber's Cancer Vaccine Center, and assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, received a $400,000 "Quest for Cures" grant from the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

    Glorian Sorensen PhD, MPH, recently received a $200,000 award from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to promote research collaborations with institutions in low- and mid-income countries. The award, developed by the NCI Center for Global Health and Office of Cancer Centers, aims to promote collaborations between NCI-designated cancer centers with institutions in LMICs.

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