ACGME Fellowship Program - Research Training

Mentors


Sam Armato, MD
Department of Radiology

Dr. Sam Armato is an imaging scientist in the Department of? Radiology and the Committee on Medical Physics. His primary ?research interest is in the development of computer-aided ?diagnostic methods for the automated analysis of thoracic CT? scans. His research projects have included the development ?of automated lung nodule detection systems for CT, the? development of computerized methods to measure the extent of? pleural mesothelioma tumor in CT, the investigation of image?quality in temporal subtraction chest radiography images, the? investigation of image texture as a diagnostic factor in? pulmonary arterial hypertension, the creation of the Lung? Image Database Consortium database of publicly available ?thoracic CT scans, the investigation of interobserver ?variability in the detection and measurement of tumors, and a ?mathematical assessment of the validity of tumor response ?criteria in mesothelioma.


Douglas Bishop, PhD
Department of Radiology

Dr. Douglas Bishop studies the mechanism of meiotic recombination. Currently, he is PI on two grants from the NIH/NIGMS and Department of Defense.


B. Marc Bissionette, MD
Department of Medicine, Section of Gastroenterology

Our laboratory research efforts are focused on three major themes: 1) Elucidation of the roles of the ErbB family of growth factor receptors in colonic tumorigenesis; 2) Investigations of chemopreventive agents in colon cancer; and 3) Studies of sporadic and ulcerative colitis-associated human colonic carcinogenesis. The first two areas involve our animal model of colon cancer induced by azoxymethane. In this model we have determined that EGFR plays important roles in tumor initiation and progression. We have also studied chemopreventive vitamin D analogues and protective bile acids in this model. More recently, we have been studying the interaction of EGFR with diet. We demonstrated that Western style diets required EGFR signals for tumor promotion. This diet also increased TGF-a expression in normal colon, which we postulate is an important mechanism for diet-related increased EGFR signals in colonic tumorigenesis. We are currently investigating how Western diets up-regulate TGF-alpha expression. The third area involves translating our animal model findings to the bedside. We are currently studying dysplastic aberrant crypt foci (ACF), the earliest detectable mucosal abnormalities in premalignancy and putative precursors of colon cancer. We are also investigating gene expression changes in the colonic mucosa of patients with chronic ulcerative colitis (UC) who are at increased risk for colon cancer. We have identified several novel genes in the colonic mucosa that are dysregulated in UC with dysplasia but not in UC without dysplasia. These gene changes were remote from dysplastic foci. We are studying their potential causal roles and utility as biomarkers of risk.


Eric Beyer, MD, PhD
Department of Pediatrics; Chief, Section of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology and Stem Cell Transplantation

Dr. Beyer investigates the process of intercellular communication; he seeks a molecular understand of the structure and function of gap junctions. He is also studying sequence involved in oligomerization and cellular trafficking and their role in cell homeostatis.


Eugene Chang, MD
Department of Medicine; Director, Digestive Disease Research Center

Dr. Chang's research interests are in intestinal epithelial biology and pathobiology of the digestive tract and fall into two major areas: inflammatory bowel diseases and intestinal adaptation and water and electrolyte transport. He has trained numerous individuals at various stages of their academic development, many of whom have gone on to establish successful academic/scientific careers and become prominent leaders in academic medicine.


Marcus Clark, MD
Department of Rheumatology

Dr. Marcus Clark studies the molecular mechanisms by which the antigen receptor couples to and activates tyrosine kinases. Dr. Clark is PI on an R01 award from NIH/NIGMS.


Suzanne D. Conzen, MD
Department of Medicine, Section of Hematology/Oncology

Dr. Conzen is a physician-scientist and practicing breast medical oncologist who runs an NIH-funded laboratory studying molecular mechanisms of cell survival in breast and ovarian epithelial cells. Dr. Conzen routinely collaborates with computational and genetic scientists in addition to clinical researchers. She is also co-Director of the Program on Cell Signaling and Gene Regulation of the University of Chicago Cancer Center. As a member of the NIH’s Cancer Etiology Study Section, she is well-versed in rigorous peer review mechanisms and has successfully mentored both clinical and basic science trainees. Dr. Conzen’s expertise complements that of Dr. Greene’s and together they will provide the leadership necessary for soliciting and selecting innovative, high-caliber Developmental Research Projects with clearly defined translational potential.


Fred Coe, MD
Department of Nephrology

Dr. Fred Coe is the Director of the NIH/NIDDK Clinical Research Training grant. Dr. Coe is also PI on a NIH/NIDDK program project award “Pathogenesis of Calcium Nephro-Lithiasis.”


John Cunningham, MD, PhD
Department of Pediatrics; Chief of Hematology/Oncology and Stem Cell Therapy

Dr. Cunningham is an innovator in the treatment of hemoglobinopathies in children – particularly the novel use of stem cell transplantation. His primary research interests are the biology and therapy of hemoglobinopathies, elucidation of transcriptional mechanisms operative during development of vertebrate organisms, and the development of novel clinical trials for treatment of genetic diseases. Dr. Cunningham is on the editorial board of the Journal of Biological Chemistry, and is a reviewer for Blood, Molecular and Cellular Biology, and Cancer Research and Genomics. He is a sought-after speaker and serves as Vice Chair of the American Cancer Society Molecular Genetics and Oncogenes Study Section.


Christopher Daugherty, MD
Department of Medicine, MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics, and Vice-Chair of the University of Chicago’s Institutional Review Board.

Clinical interests in acute leukemia and allogeneic stem cell transplantation. Research interests in medical ethics and dilemmas of informed consent and human experimentation in cancer clinical trials. Currently, he is PI on a grant from the Open Society Institute.


Jim Dignam, PhD
Department of Health Studies

Dr Dignam’s work is focused on health disparities and clinical research outcomes and cooperative group clinical trials study design.


Anna Di Rienzo, PhD
Department of Human Genetics

Dr. Di Rienzo’s research aims to characterize the amount and patterns of genetic variation in human populations, and to elucidate the forces that shape and maintain this variation. Currently, she is studying the evolution of a polymorphic variant contributing to Type 2 diabetes susceptibility.


M. Eileen Dolan, PhD
Department of Medicine, Section of Hematology/Oncology

Dr Dolan has devoted her career to translational research in the area of drug development and pharmacology. She has extensive experience in preclinical and clinical drug development, with a particular focus on the pharmacodynamic effects of drugs and modulators of DNA repair. Currently, she is the PI on an R01 from NIH/NCI as well as a key investigator on five other NIH sponsored grants.


Gini Fleming,MD
Department of Medicine, Section of Hematology/Oncology

Dr. Fleming's research focuses on treatment of GYN oncology and breast cancer. Dr Fleming serves as chair of the Working Group on Treatment of the Elderly for the Gynecologic Oncology Group.


Thomas Gajewski, MD, PhD
Department of Medicine, Section of Hematology/Oncology

Dr. Gajewski is a medical oncologist and immunologist whose research focuses on immune mechanisms of tumor rejection and vaccine trials. He will be a great resource for any fellow interested in immune based therapies.


Mary Ellen Giger, MD
Department of Radiation

Dr. Mary Ellen Giger is the leader of Advanced Imaging Program in the UCCR and has been involved in imaging research for more than 20 years. Important contributions by Dr. Giger are in two major areas: (1) imaging physics of digital radiographic systems, including physical quality indices and the psychophysics of observer performance and (2) computer-aided diagnosis, including breast, thoracic, and skeletal imaging. Drs. Giger and Olopade are using computerized analysis of mammograms, including texture analysis, in an attempt to identify features, which might allow for better classification of breast lesions. Her research has resulted in 22 patents (8 allowed and 14 pending). Currently, Dr. Giger is PI on five grants from NIH/NCI, NIH/NIAMS, and the Department of Defense.


Harvey Golomb, MD
Department of Medicine, Section of Hematology/Oncology

Dr. Harvey Golomb studies the biology and treatment of hairy cell leukemia, lung cancer and malignant lymphomas.


Philip Hoffman, MD
Department of Medicine, Section of Hematology/Oncology

Dr. Hoffman's clinical focus is on the management of breast cancer and lung cancer. He participates in the many clinical trials that are available in those areas, and is the principal investigator for some of them. He is also the principal faculty member in the Section who focuses on education for the medical students.


Theodore Karrison, MD
Department of Health Studies

Dr. Theodore Karrison works closely with investigators in the design and statistical analysis of studies conducted within the General Clinical Research Center (GCRC) at The University of Chicago.


Hedy Kindler, MD
Department of Medicine, Section of Hematology/Oncology

Dr. Hedy Kindler directs the Mesothelioma and Gastrointestinal tract cancer programs. Her clinical research interests are in developing Phase I and II I compounds with special focus on anti- angiogenesis agents.


David Grdina, PhD
Department of Radiation and Cellular Oncology

Dr. Grdina’s research program is focused on developing new effective strategies to prevent therapy induced secondary cancers in patients having a good prognosis and a relatively long life expectancy. Research activities currently being pursued in this program include: 1) development and characterization of novel phosphorothioate radioprotective drugs such as phosphonol for use in the prevention of radiation- and chemotherapy induced secondary malignancies; 2) prevention and treatment of metastatic disease utilizing thiol containing cytoprotective drugs; 3) protection against radiation induced genomic instability in non-tumor cells through the exploitation of a novel paradigm identified as “the delayed radioprotective effect.”


Geoffrey Greene, PhD
Chair, Committee on Cancer Biology, Ben May Department for Cancer Research

The major emphasis of my research is to determine the molecular and cellular mechanisms by which female steroid hormones regulate development, differentiation, proliferation and survival in hormone responsive tissues and cancers, especially breast cancer. Estrogens regulate the expression of diverse regulatory proteins and growth factors via one or both of two estrogen receptor subtypes (ERa & ERb). My lab is actively studying multiple aspects of ER action, including the role of post-translational modifications in the signaling activities of both ERs, the roles of ER-associated proteins in receptor-mediated responses and the molecular nature of transcriptional activation and/or repression in the regulation of target gene expression. We are also identifying and characterizing genome-wide binding sites for both ER subtypes in breast cancer cells and elucidating the mechanisms by which the two ERs differentially regulate target genes. In addition, several animal models are being used to address breast cancer prevention and treatment strategies at all stages of disease genesis and progression.


Akira Imamoto, DDS, PhD
Ben May Department for Cancer Research

The laboratory of Dr. Akira Imamoto investigates the role of the CRK family genes in the cell. This family consists of two distinct genes. CRK is localized to 17p13, and CRKL at 22q11. These genes are closely related, thus one may assume there are overlapping functions. Nevertheless, both of these genes are essential for normal development and cellular functions, suggesting the presence of functions that do not overlap between the two. Alternatively, it is possible that functions shared by the two genes could be sensitive to the gene dosage of these individual genes. Gene products of CRK and CRKL are so-called adapter proteins and associate with ABL as well as its oncogenic counterpart, BCR-ABL. Amplification of either CRK or CRKL appears to be associated with some human cancers, while the precise mechanism of their participation in cancer biology is still unclear. We use animal models lacking either of these genes to explore the network of events important for cell survival or death, as well as their adhesive/motile behavior. Furthermore, the functional independence as well as overlaps between these genes are the results of evolution. We also investigate other vertebrates and invertebrates that have genes related to this family in order to shed light onto the diversification of functions and structures the CRK family possesses in humans today.


Steven Kron, MD, PhD
Department of Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology

Dr. Steve Kron and his laboratory study cell proliferation and DNA damage response at the level of chromatin dynamics. Our goal is to better understand the determinants of cell death and cell survival after cytotoxic therapy and to develop novel strategies to target chromatin to improve cancer therapy. In collaboration with Drs. Ralph Weichselbaum and Everett Vokes and other colleagues, we are using molecular, systems biology and imaging approaches to follow chromatin modification and protein assembly at sites of DNA damage and repair in living normal and cancer cells, in vitro and in vivo, and to dissect roles in DNA damage signaling, apoptosis and senescence. We have identified novel targets that may serve critical roles in DNA damage response. We are also screening libraries of drugs and other small molecules for agents that alter the kinetics of chromatin modification after DNA damage, as a route to identifying chemo- and radiosensitizers. These studies have already led to novel insights regarding the effects of PARP inhibitors. Several other promising hits await validation.


Richard Larson, MD
Department of Medicine; Chair, Leukemia Committee for CALGB

His research interests are determinants of treatment response acute and chronic leukemia; stem cell transplantation. Dr. Larson is Core Leader for the Patient Access, Data Management and Tissue Culture Core on Dr. Michelle Le Beau’s NIH/NCI program project award “Etiology of Treatment Induced Secondary Leukemia.”


Michelle Le Beau, PhD
Department of Medicine, Section of Hematology/Oncology; U of C Cancer Research Center

Dr. Le Beau’s research focuses on the molecular analysis of the recurring chromosomal abnormalities in human leukemias and lymphomas, correlating specific abnormalities with morphological and clinical features and the development of risk-adapted therapy. Ongoing projects include the molecular cloning of a myeloid leukemia-related gene involved in the –5/del(5q) characteristic of therapy-related acute myeloid leukemia; genetic characterization of murine models recapitulating the genetic mutations in acute myeloid leukemia and identification of secondary, cooperating mutations and genetic pathways to leukemogenesis; and the application of murine models for pre-clinical drug testing and elucidation of the mechanism for the genetic instability characteristic of chromosomal fragile sites.


David Meltzer, MD, PhD
Departments of Medicine and Economics

Dr. David Meltzer’s research focuses on the cost and quality of hospital care and the theoretical foundations of medical cost-effectiveness analysis, which he has applied in numerous areas, including prostate cancer . His research in hospital care utilizes methods from the social sciences to understand how physicians learn from experience and from their peers through social network connections. He is also performing a large clinical trial examining the economic implications of pharmacogenetic testing for warfarin. His work in cost-effectiveness analysis includes studies of heterogeneity in patient attributes and their implications for comparative effectiveness research and the use of decision-analytic methods for the prioritization of research projects.


Yusuke Nakamura, MD, PhD
Department of Medicine, Section of Hematology/Oncology

Dr. Nakamura has been contributing to genomic medicine and also cancer research fields for more than two decades. He is one of the pioneers in applying genetic variations (VNTR and SNP markers) and whole-genome analysis in medical science in the world. His contribution in the past can be measured by his publication of nearly 1,200 articles. His recent work focuses on the molecular characterization of druggable molecular targets including some kinases and methyltransferases that are specifically expressed in cancer cells. Using cancer-specific molecules, he has developed therapeutic cancer vaccines and antibody to treat cancer, and is also developing molecular targeting drugs. In addition, he has been leading the research field of personalized medicine.


Robert Nishikawa, PhD
Department of Radiology

Dr. Robert Nishikawa's laboratory studies technologies for the early detection of breast cancer. Several new imaging modalities such as tomosynthesis, computed tomography (CT) and computer-aided diagnosis are under investigation. One project is using modeling to study the efficacy of asymptomatic screening using different modalities/technologies. The model that is being developed incorporates current and emerging knowledge of the natural history of breast cancer, the performance of screening modalities, breast metastasis, and the effects of different treatment protocols. The ultimate goal of the project is to determine the effectiveness of screening in terms of cost-effectiveness, mortality and morbidity.


Olufunmilayo Olopade, MD
Department of Medicine, Section of Hematology/Oncology

Dr. Olopade investigates the molecular genetics of breast cancer and the role of tumor suppressor genes in cancer. She is also interested in cancer risk assessment and chemoprevention as well as breast cancer and minority populations. Dr. Olopade has maintained externally funded laboratory and clinical research programs in cancer genetics since 1990. Currently, she is PI on six grants from the NIH/NCI, the U.S. Army/DOD, the Falk Research Trust and the Doris Duke Foundation.


Mitchell Posner, MD
Chief, Section of General Surgery; Chief, Surgical Oncology

Dr. Mitchell Posner is a nationally and internationally recognized expert in the management of cancers of the esophagus, pancreas, stomach, liver, colon and rectum. His oncology research includes designing and guiding significant clinical trials in gastrointestinal cancers--including pancreatic, esophageal, colorectal and rectal cancers, as well as hepatic metastases. Dr. Posner is also studying molecular genetic events and viral gene therapy to develop innovative treatment approaches for esophageal and pancreatic cancer. Currently, he serves as chairman of the Gastrointestinal Committee of the American College of Surgeons Oncology Group (ACOSOG).


Mark Ratain, MD
Department of Medicine, Section of Hematology/Oncology; Chair, Committee on Clinical Pharmacology and Pharmacogenomics.

Dr. Ratain is a hematologist/oncologist who studies inter-individual variability (particularly pharmacogenetic variability) in the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of anticancer agents. His research is supported by two U01 grants, an NIGMS grant in support of the Pharmacogenetics of Anticancer Agents Research Group (PAAR) of which he is Chair, and an NCI grant in support of early clinical trials of new anticancer agents. Dr. Ratain also serves program director for the T32 Clinical Pharmacology Training Grant and has served as the primary mentor for 27 postdoctoral trainees in his career.


Carrie Rinker-Schaeffer, PhD
Departments of Surgery, OB/GYN, Medicine

Dr. Rinker-Schaeffer is an Associate Professor with a primary ?appointment in the Department of Surgery with secondary ?appointments in the Departments of Medicine (Hem/Onc) and?Obstetrics and Gynecology OB/Gyne (Gyn/Onc). She is the? Director of Urologic Research in the Department of Surgery.? Her laboratory focuses on using a relatively new class of ?proteins called metastasis suppressors to dissect the? molecular biology of metastasis regulation. In particular, ?her laboratory uses animal models to interrogate metastatic? colonization, the final step of metastasis whereby ?disseminated tumor cells expand into micro-metastases and then ?into overt, clinically significant metastases. She has active? research projects in both ovarian and prostate cancer models.? Dr. Rinker-Schaeffer has an established track record of? mentoring graduate students, residents, and fellows and is ?fully committed to developing the next generation of? translational and basic metastasis researchers.


Marsha Rosner, PhD
Ben May Department for Cancer

The Rosner laboratory focuses on the mechanism by which signals are transmitted within the cell to specify particular outputs leading to cell growth, differentiation or death. Her long-time focus has been on the regulation of the MAP kinase signaling cascade, an evolutionarily conserved kinase pathway that has been implicated in tumor cell progression, invasion and metastasis. Utilizing approaches ranging from statistical analysis of patient tumor gene microarray data to xenograft studies and knockout mice, recent work from the Rosner laboratory has elucidated novel signaling cascades that regulate tumor cell cycle progression and metastasis via mechanisms involving microRNAs. Recently, the Rosner and Minn laboratories developed a microRNA-based approach to generate gene signatures for new signaling pathways. They identified the first gene signature that can predict metastatic risk for the most aggressive triple-negative type of breast cancer. This approach is now being applied to other microRNAs and tumor types.


Mark Seigler, MD, FACP
Departments of Medicine, Director of the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics

Dr. Siegler is one of the few physicians who combines expertise in medical ethics with an active medical practice.


Walter Stadler, MD
Department of Medicine, Section of Hematology/Oncology

Dr. Stadler focuses on the treatment of patients with kidney, bladder, prostate, and testes cancer. His research interests are related to new drug development for these patients. To this end he continues to design and conduct phase I, II, and III clinical trials. He is also active in developing new blood based, pathologic, and imaging markers to assist in monitoring of therapy and predicting patient outcome.


Wendy Stock, MD
Department of Medicine, Section of Hematology/Oncology

Dr. Wendy Stock is an authority in the medical management of all types of leukemia and myelodysplastic syndromes. She collaborates with other oncologists around the world through the National Cancer Institute and the Cancer and Leukemia Group B to help identify and develop better approaches to chemotherapy and other cancer treatments. Dr. Stock's laboratory focuses on studies to determine the clinical significance of the molecular detection and monitoring of minimal residual disease (MRD) states following treatment for leukemia and lymphoma. The laboratory is a national reference laboratory for several of these studies. Dr. Stock is also developing novel technology to measure tyrosine kinase activity in leukemia cells as a method for predicting response to treatment with novel targeted kinase inhibitors.


Ursula Storb, MD
Department of Molecular Genetics

Dr. Ursula Storb is interested is the analysis of expression of immunoglobulin (Ig) genes. These genes encode antibody molecules and are induced to highest activity during encounter with agents foreign to the organism, such as microbes. Dr. Storb is Program Director of the NIH/NCI sponsored “Molecular and Cellular Biology” training grant. In addition, she is currently PI on five grants from NIH/NIAID and the American Cancer Society.


Michael Thirman, MD
Department of Medicine, Section of Hematology/Oncology

His research interests include chromosomal translocations in leukemia, oncogenes, and molecular biology of hematologic malignancies.


Michael Thisted, MD
Department of Health Studies

Dr. Ronald Thisted focuses on the areas of biostatistics and epidemiology, statistical computation, and effectiveness of medical interventions.


James Vardiman, MD
Department of Hematopathology

Dr. James Vardiman has had a long-standing interest in refining the morphological classification of hematologic malignancies and incorporating molecular and cytogenetic features into available classification systems. Dr. Vardiman is a member and committee chair of the World Health Organization (WHO) Classification Steering Committee, which has developed a new classification of hematologic malignancies.


Mitchel Villereal, MD
Department of Neuroboilogy

Dr. Mitch Villerea is studying the signal-transduction process by which growth factors, via binding to membrane receptors in cultured fibroblasts, transmit a signal into the cell which serves to initiate cell proliferation. Currently, he is PI on and R01 award from NIH/NIGMS.


Everett Vokes, MD
Department of Medicine, Section of Hematology/Oncology

Dr. Everett Vokes has devoted his academic career to clinical research in head and neck and chest malignancies and the interaction of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. He is also active in our phase I and II drug development activities where he serves as the principal investigator of the NCI-sponsored phase II cooperative agreement (1994-2000) and contract (since 2001) to conduct phase II trials of new anticancer drugs. In addition, he is the Principal Investigator of a pending NIH/NCI-sponsored “Chicago SPORE in Head and Neck Cancer” that hopes to extend the work of the Chicago Oral Cancer Research Center that is currently funded though a joint NIDR/NCI program project award.


Ralph Weichselbaum, MD
Chair, Department of Radiation Oncology and Cell Biology

His broad research interests range from innovative multidisciplinary clinical programs in head and neck cancer treatments, to laboratory studies of DNA recombination and repair, signal transduction, gene-targeted radiotherapy, ionizing radiation and angiogenic therapy, and chemoprevention. He has received many professional awards, honors, and recognition for his scientific and medical accomplishments, including appointment as one of only three radiation oncologists in the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences; honorary membership in the Swiss Society of Radiology; and the John B. Little Award from Harvard School of Public Health. He is PI on two R01s and trained more than 20 postdocs and physician scientists.


Amittha Wickerema, PhD
Department of Medicine, Section of Hematology/Oncology

Dr. Wickerma is the Director of the Clinical Cell Engineering Laboratory at the University of Chicago, and is the Scientific Director of the Human Cell Manufacturing Core Facility.


Diane Yamada, MD
Department of Obstetrics/Gynecology; Chief, Section of Gynecologic Oncology

Dr. Diane Yamada specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of gynecologic cancers. She is the principal investigator at the University of Chicago for the Gynecologic Oncology Group (GOG), a cooperative clinical trials group supported by the National Cancer Institute. Her areas of interest include complex surgery for gynecologic malignancies, prophylactic surgery for women at high risk for the development of hereditary ovarian and endometrial cancers, andmanagement of uterine sarcomas. Her recent research focuses on the role of signaling pathways in the modulation of ovarian cancer metastasis. Dr. Yamada's ovarian cancer research has been sponsored by the Department of Defense, the American Cancer Society, the Gynecologic Cancer Foundation, and the Cancer Research Foundation. Currently, she is conducting clinical trials targeting ovarian cancer as well as endometrial and cervical cancer through the GOG.