Seven Sylvester Faculty Members Receive Awards at Zubrod Memorial Lecture

Seven faculty members at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine received awards of recognition at this year’s Zubrod Memorial Lecture.

From left, Titia de Lange, Ph.D., Norman Altman, V.M.D., and Stephen D. Nimer, M.D.

The lecture is named in honor of Charles Gordon Zubrod, M.D., the founding director of what was originally called the University of Miami Cancer Center, and who is considered the “father of cancer chemotherapy.”

The lecture, now in its 20th year, took place on April 12. Titia de Lange, Ph.D., a leading authority on telomeres and director of the Anderson Center for Cancer Research at The Rockefeller University, was the 2019 Distinguished Lecturer.

The day began with a poster competition on the Schoninger Research Quadrangle. More than 100 clinical fellows, residents, post-doctoral fellows, medical students and graduate students presented their research abstracts.

Sylvester Director Stephen D. Nimer, M.D., recognized the top five posters before the lecture presentation. The overall first place winner was Siddarth Mehra, mentored by Nipun Merchant, M.D., medical director of the Sylvester Pancreatic Cancer Research Institute.

Six Sylvester faculty members received Outstanding Faculty Awards:

From left, Titia de Lange, Ph.D., Peter J. Hosein, M.D., Robert B. Levy, Ph.D., Erin Kobetz, Ph.D., M.P.H., Hansel E. Tookes III, M.D., M.P.H., Gilberto Lopes, M.D., Wael El-Rifai, M.D., Ph.D., and Stephen D. Nimer, M.D.

Basic Scientist of the Year – Wael El-Rifai, M.D., Ph.D., for leading an NCI-funded research program in upper gastrointestinal cancers.

Clinical Researcher of the Year – Gilberto Lopes, M.D., for the conclusion and presentation of the KEYNOTE 42 study comparing pembrolizumab to chemotherapy as initial treatment for the most common type of lung cancer.

Community-Based Researcher of the Year – Hansel E. Tookes III, M.D., M.P.H., for behavioral interventions and innovative approaches to HIV prevention.

Mentor of the Year for Junior Faculty – Erin Kobetz, Ph.D., M.P.H., for overseeing Sylvester-wide efforts to ensure overlap between scientific opportunity and local need, and prioritizing involvement of junior faculty.

Mentor of the Year for Trainees – Robert B. Levy, Ph.D., for mentoring many trainees who now have faculty positions at leading institutions and have become elite scientists and educators.

From left, Titia de Lange, Ph.D., student poster winners and Stephen D. Nimer, M.D.

Teacher of the Year – Peter J. Hosein, M.D., for coordinating the gastrointestinal portion of the core curriculum of hematology/oncology fellows and participating in clinical teaching.

In addition, Dr. Nimer presented this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award to Norman Altman, V.M.D., professor of pathology and laboratory science, and the Miller School’s ombudsman, who has been a member of the faculty for 45 years.

Dr. Altman “continues to be a leader in a vigorous research program in comparative pathology,” Dr. Nimer said. “His current collaborative studies include causes and treatments of breast and prostate cancers.”

Dr. Altman also has held many significant leadership positions at UM, including vice provost for research and director of Sylvester from 1989 to 1992.

“The thing I’m most proud of is being a professor at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine,” Dr. Altman said after receiving his award.