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The University of Kansas Hospital was nationally ranked in 9 specialties on the 2018-19 U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals list

2016 Cancer Center Director’s Awards

Published: 12/22/2016

2016 Cancer Center Director's AwardThe University of Kansas Cancer Center recently announced the recipients of its inaugural 2016 Cancer Center Director’s Awards. This awards program was launched by Roy A. Jensen, MD, director of KU Cancer Center, to recognize individuals who have made significant contributions in the past year to its mission of reducing the burden of cancer in our region.

The 12 awardees represent some of the most promising work and progress at the cancer center. We would like to thank each of them for their outstanding work!

Basic Science

Shrikant Anant, PhD, associate director, Cancer Prevention and Control, The University of Kansas Cancer Center

Danny Welch, PhD, associate director, Basic Science, The University of Kansas Cancer Center

Drs. Anant and Welch were chosen for their steadfast efforts to assist the cancer center junior faculty to obtain peer-reviewed funding and launch their independent research careers through the submission of the COBRE grant.

Bill Jewell Team Science

Shrikant Anant, PhD, associate director, Cancer Prevention and Control, The University of Kansas Cancer Center

Scott Weir, PharmD, PhD, director, Institute for Advancing Medical Innovation (IAMI), associate director, Translational Research, The University of Kansas Cancer Center

Drs. Anant and Weir are being recognized for their work to bring the first cancer center-discovered and developed drug to a clinical trial by building a strong transdisciplinary team, from the bench to the clinic.

Civic Philanthropy

Paul DeBruce, longtime supporter of the University of Kansas, founder of DeBruce Grain Inc. and venture capital firm BioNovus Innovations.

Mr. DeBruce is being honored for founding BioNovus Innovations, a venture capital firm that represents a unique public-private partnership. The firm will play an important role in advancing new cancer center therapeutic approaches to the clinic and serve as a national model for how venture philanthropy and commercialization efforts can benefit patients.

Clinical Science

Priyanka Sharma, MD, oncologist, The University of Kansas Cancer Center

Dr. Sharma has developed an international reputation for her expertise in triple-negative breast cancer. Last year, she received the ASCO Conquer Cancer Foundation Advanced Clinical Research Award in Breast Cancer. Dr. Sharma exemplifies how cancer center clinical investigators can build a research program that answers important questions regarding efforts to advance and improve patient clinical care.

Clinical Trial Accrual

Abdulraheem Yacoub, MD, oncologist, The University of Kansas Cancer Center and assistant professor, the University of Kansas Medical Center

Dr. Yacoub enrolled more patients in therapeutic interventional clinical trials than any other investigator in the cancer center academic practice.

Closing Disparities

Paula Cupertino, PhD, director, Juntos Center for Advancing Latino Health, the University of Kansas Medical Center

Health disparities are an increasingly important barrier to making progress against cancer, and Dr. Cupertino has done an outstanding job of reaching out to underserved and minority communities both locally and internationally. Her efforts have resulted in a newly funded P30 supplement award to enhance the cancer center’s outreach to the international community.

Community Clinical Trial Accrual

Mark Myron, MD, oncologist, The University of Kansas Cancer Center and assistant professor, the University of Kansas Medical Center

Dr. Myron enrolled more patients in therapeutic interventional clinical trials than any other investigator in the cancer center’s community practice.

Legislator

Kansas State Rep. Daniel Hawkins, chairman, Health and Human Services committee

Rep. Hawkins, as chairman of the Kansas House Committee on Health and Human Services, played a critical role in obtaining passage of an indoor tanning bill, which prohibits anyone under the age of 18 from using tanning beds at facilities.

Staff

Chris Ruder, MS, RN, NEA-BS, vice president, Patient Care Services, The University of Kansas Hospital

Mr. Ruder played a vitally important role in implementing our highly successful UKanQuit program for smoking cessation services targeting inpatients at The University of Kansas Hospital. With tobacco use a leading preventable cause of cancer death, it is essential that we decrease the smoking rate among our citizens.

Young Scientist

Nikki Cheng, PhD, associate professor, the University of Kansas Medical Center

Dr. Cheng has developed an outstanding and critically important research program focused on the role of cytokines and immune cells in establishing and maintaining the tumor microenvironment. She has received funding from the NCI, the ACS and Komen for the Cure. Her work has significant implications for many types of cancer and will be an essential element in understanding how we might alter the microenvironment to enhance therapeutic efficacy of our current and future treatments. 

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