Top News

  • Haywood named IU cancer center’s first associate director of DEI

    The Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center has named Antwione Haywood, PhD, its associate director of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). Haywood is the first person to hold the chief diversity officer position at the cancer center. 

    Haywood, assistant dean for medical student affairs and assistant professor of clinical radiation oncology at Indiana University School of Medicine, joins the cancer center’s executive committee, which oversees strategic planning, major funding decisions, and clinical, research and educational activities. 

    Equity and inclusion have been a common thread throughout Haywood’s career. His work has included projects investigating disparities in access, retention and support of underrepresented populations. His DEI efforts have led to multiple publications and oral and poster presentations at national meetings.

    “Dr. Haywood brings great knowledge, passion and experience to our efforts to build diversity, equity and inclusion into the moral foundation of the IU Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center,” said Kelvin Lee, MD, director of the IU Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center. “We are very fortunate and very excited to have him join our team.”

    Haywood joins the cancer center at an integral time as the National Cancer Institute (NCI) has charged all NCI-designated centers to increase DEI efforts. He will be responsible for enhancing participation of women and underrepresented populations in the research workforce and center leadership; supporting career-enhancing research opportunities for junior, early- and mid-career researchers to prepare them for center leadership; expanding the pipeline of cancer center members of diverse backgrounds through training or mentoring opportunities; and leveraging institutional commitment to enhance diversity within the center’s membership and leadership.

    For more details on the appointment, visit the Newsroom.

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  • Researchers receive $12 million to pursue personalized treatment for severe asthma

    A group of researchers led by Benjamin Gaston, MD, has been awarded a research program project grant (P01) from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. The award amounts to just over $12 million over the next five years and will fund the development of personalized therapeutic approaches for severe asthma. The program will focus on three projects and five cores, led by researchers at IU School of Medicine and Case Western Reserve University. Read more in the Newsroom.

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  • Nominate a staff member for the Emerging Leaders program

    Know a staff member who demonstrates an ability to lead? Consider nominating them for the IU School of Medicine Emerging Leaders program. The purpose of the program is to promote professional growth and leadership skills to promising leaders within the school.

    Program nominees should be staff members who lead others and exhibit the potential to advance into higher leadership roles. Faculty members, department chairs and supervisors are encouraged to nominate individuals they feel meet the selection criteria outlined in the Emerging Leaders Program overview.

    More information about the program is available on the MedNet Emerging Leaders program page. Nomination deadline is November 5, and interviews for the new cohort will be held December 1-3.

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  • Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Clinical trial participant experiences remission of Stage 4 breast cancer

    Jenny Larner Brown knew she had an aggressive form of breast cancer. She had been through surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy—twice. At every juncture in her difficult breast cancer journey, Brown’s oncologist, Kathy Miller, MD, had been there to assure her there was a path forward for treatment.

    This time was different.

    “She held my hand, and it was one of those surreal moments that freeze in time,” Brown recalled. “This time there were no treatment options.”

    Brown dreams of a day when no one would ever experience that kind of moment.

    “I hope in five or 10 years that nobody worries about dying of breast cancer,” she said. “I would love there to be a time when the most serious breast cancer can be managed as a chronic illness—and that no one has to sit down with their oncologist and hear that they’re out of options.”

    It’s now been more than two years since that terrifying moment when Brown learned her cancer was back for the third time—stage 4 of a rare, deadly combination of both triple negative and inflammatory breast cancers—and that she had an estimated 12-to-18 months to live.

    Yet here she is. Taking trips with her family and friends, hiking sections of the Appalachian Trail, pursuing a master’s degree, and savoring every moment.

    Thanks to the first-in-human clinical trial—called Whac-a-Mole after the popular arcade game—at IU School of Medicine, Brown is in remission. Read more about her story and the trial on the Breast Cancer Research blog.

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Research News

  • October 25: PHI roundtable to focus on multiple myeloma

    Plan to join the Precision Health Initiative (PHI) virtual roundtable to learn more about multiple myeloma research at IU and resulting treatment advances powered by the IU Precision Health Initiative. The event will be held via Zoom at 3 pm, on Monday, October 25. Rafat Abonour, MD, Harry and Edith Gladstein Professor of Cancer Research at IU School of Medicine, will be a featured speaker, along with Dorothy Frapwell, a multiple myeloma patient. Find out more and register for the roundtable.

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  • Researchers discover small molecule degrader as potential anticancer drug

    Researchers in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at IU School of Medicine have discovered a novel anticancer drug, using a unique approach that has allowed them to target previously undruggable cancerous proteins. When traditional drug discovery approaches failed, Anita Bellail, PhDChunhai "Charlie" Hao, MD, PhD, and their team developed a cancer cell-based screening to identify a lead compound known as HB007, which slowed cancer growth in models. Their findings were published this month in Science Translational Medicine

    “All proteins go through a life cycle from gene transcription to protein degradation,” said Bellail, the lead author who is an assistant professor of pathology and laboratory medicine. “The cancerous proteins are highly expressed in part due to the blockage of degradation. Targeted protein degraders such as HB007 can release the blockage and send the proteins to the trash can.”

    In the past, researchers have searched for compounds known as inhibitors to directly bind to and inhibit cancerous proteins, but the vast majority of proteins lack binding pockets. The next generation of drugs that Bellail, Hao and the team are working to identify are small molecule degraders that target the protein degradation pathway for the destruction of cancerous proteins and shutdown of cancer growth. 

    For more on the findings, visit the Newsroom.

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  • Indiana Biobank offering data from clinical samples to researchers

    The Indiana Biobank has data generated from samples that are available for researchers. Specifically, the bank has whole exome sequencing (WES) from more than 5,800 subjects. The biobank also has WES, RNA sequencing, peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) analyses and cytokine/chemokine data generated from samples collected from subjects with COVID-19. All samples are linked to the electronic medical record, and de-identified clinical data can be paired with the analyses data. Interested? Email the Indiana Biobank team.

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Faculty and Staff News

  • DEI resource series: Advocating for change

    Becoming an advocate for change is not a passive act. Rather, it’s a skill that can be learned and improved. Find out how in this informative webinar, “Advocating for Change in Your Organization.” The presentation is available through LinkedIn Learning, offered to IU faculty, staff and learners free of charge through One.IU (search “LinkedIn”).

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Opportunities

  • Webinar to address mental health stigma in communities of color

    The IU School of Medicine Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine will host a special diversity presentation at noon on Tuesday, November 9. “Navigating Mental Health Stigma in Communities of Color,” will feature Jonathan Mathias Lassiter, PhD, a polymath who uses psychology, writing and dance to help others heal and thrive. Lassiter has been featured on television, radio, podcasts and in print with media outlets PBS, Sirius XM and The Hill. Use this Zoom link to attend the virtual presentation.

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  • MPRINT Hub offering fellow/faculty awards combo; apply by November 22

    The MPRINT Hub serves as a national resource for expertise in maternal and pediatric therapeutics to conduct and foster therapeutics-focused research in obstetrics, lactation and pediatrics while enhancing inclusion of people with disabilities.

    The IU/OSU MPRINT Knowledge & Research Coordination Center supports the operations of the entire MPRINT Hub, providing a knowledge base that will aggregate and identify knowledge deficits in the principles of maternal and pediatric therapeutics, including pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, genetics, proteomics and metabolomics that inform drug development and regulatory science.

    This P30 opportunity will provide funding for one year for a combination of clinical fellow/postdoctoral fellow awards up to $25,000 and faculty awards up to $150,000 for a total award amount in the range of $500,000. Learn more about the opportunity and apply. Submission deadline is November 22.

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  • October 28 ‘Simon Says’ to address reducing disparities in breast cancer

    While Black women develop breast cancer at a lower rate compared to women of other racial and ethnic backgrounds, the cancer often occurs at a younger age and is more aggressive. For years, the medical community thought these disparities could be solely attributed to socioeconomic factors, but current research tells a much more complex story.

    Plan to attend the next “Simon Says Expert Series” session on “Breast Cancer and Black Women” at 1 pm, on Thursday, October 28, when breast cancer survivor and advocate Lisa R. Hayes, JD, CCHW, will be joined by IU Melvin and Bren Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center researchers Kathy Miller, MD, and Hari Nakshatri, PhD, to discuss the work underway to unlock these complexities. Find out more and register.

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Partner News

  • IU Health to open new hospital in Bloomington on December 5

    IU Health will open its new 364-bed hospital in Bloomington on December 5. ​The new facility, which is part of the Indiana University Regional Academic Health Center campus, replaces the existing IU Health Bloomington Hospital. 

    The 622,000-square-foot hospital will house an emergency department, a cancer profusion center and women’s center. It also will offer outpatient services, trauma services and educational opportunities for medical students. 

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Kudos

  • Davis recognized for international contributions in respiratory care

    Assistant Professor of Pediatrics Michael D. Davis, PhD, has been honored with the 2021 Toshihiko Koga, MD, International Medal by the International Council for Respiratory Care (ICRC). The award is the highest honor bestowed by the ICRC, given annually in recognition of the awardee’s excellence in promoting the globalization of quality respiratory care.

    Davis is a deserving honoree, whose decade-long contributions to improved respiratory care in West Africa include service, education and clinical care. In 2012, Davis co-founded Africa’s first college for respiratory therapists and in 2019 played an integral role in the establishment of a specialty teaching and care facility for respiratory disease. Most recently, Davis was recruited by officials in the Liberian government to advise the nation in its COVID-19 response plan. Read more about Davis’ contributions on the Pediatrics blog.

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  • Two medical students awarded STFM Foundation scholarships

    IU School of Medicine medical students Alejandro Enrique Bolivar and Adam Corya have been awarded 2022 STFM Foundation Student Scholarships from the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine (STFM) to participate in the 2022 STFM Conference on Medical Student Education.

    This highly competitive scholarship is awarded to some of the best and brightest medical students in the nation. In addition to recognizing a strong commitment to academic family medicine through scholastic, volunteer and leadership pursuits, the award acknowledges the recipients’ strong potential for a career in academic medicine. Only 18 awards were given for 2022.

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