Celina Kleer, MD, named 2019 AACR Outstanding Investigator Awardee

The San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS) and the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), will honor Dr. Celina Kleer with the 2019 AACR Outstanding Investigator Award for Breast Cancer Research, supported by the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF), during the 2019 SABCS, to be held Dec. 10-14 at the Henry B. González Convention Center, San Antonio.

Dr. Kleer, the Harold A. Oberman collegiate professor of pathology at the University of Michigan Medical School and Rogel Cancer Center, is being recognized for her work in generating key insights into the development of aggressive forms of breast cancer and for advancing the characterization of clinical biomarkers and potential therapeutic targets for these cancer subsets. Specifically, her groundbreaking research led to both the initial demonstration of EZH2 overexpression in metastatic hormone receptor negative breast cancer and the elucidation of molecular determinants of metaplastic breast carcinoma. Kleer will present a lecture on Friday, Dec. 13, at 11:30 a.m. titled, “Novel non-canonical functions of EZH2 in triple negative breast cancer.”

Dr. Kleer will receive the 2020 ASIP Outstanding Investigator Award during the ASIP Annual Meeting at Experimental Biology 2020 in San Diego (April 4-7, 2020).

Science needs mentors

Taken from https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-02617-1

Mildred Dresselhaus in her lab at MIT.
Materials scientist Mildred Dresselhaus supervised more than 60 PhD students in five decades on the MIT faculty.Credit: Micheline Pelletier/Gamma-Rapho/Getty

Maria Mitchell, the first woman to become a professional astronomer in the United States, was one; so was materials scientist Mildred Dresselhaus, the ‘Queen of carbon science’. In common with many scientists, they desired to be mentors, guiding the next generation with no expectation of return.

The concept of a mentor, indeed the word itself, can be traced at least as far back as Homer’s Odyssey. In the ancient Greek epic, the wisdom goddess Athena took the form of a man called Mentor to assume the guardianship of the young prince Telemachus while his father, Odysseus, was away fighting the Trojan War. Athena’s Mentor was not only Telemachus’s protector, but also his educator and guide.

Mentoring is one aspect of good research supervision. But it doesn’t always happen, as a 2018 Nature survey on laboratory life showed. A majority of the survey’s respondents wanted more support for mentoring and managing.

The lack of mentoring is also among the reasons for the global rise of organized doctoral-training academies, where PhD candidates learn in groups, and where they can access scholarly experience and expertise in addition to that of their main supervisor.

Some employers recognize mentoring: a number of learned societies have formal schemes that assign mentors to trainees, for example. So do scholarly publishers, through their global trade association, STM.Some hard numbers on science’s leadership problems

Nature gives its own annual awards for excellence in mentoring. These awards, now in its 15th year, are again open for nominations for two prizes: one for a mid-career mentor and the other for a lifetime of achievement in mentoring. Each year, the awards recognize mentors from a different country or region; the 2019 edition invites nominations from India, which produced 24,300 PhD graduates in 2014, the fourth-highest number in the world after the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany. The deadline for applications is 6 October.

There’s no set formula for mentoring, as past winners of Nature’s awards have themselves said. Furthermore, the needs of young researchers are evolving as their environment changes. Many relatively new skills needed in research careers, such as the ability to conform to performance-management systems and run multidisciplinary research groups, would not have been relevant to some mentors earlier in their careers. But there are a number of ways in which researchers can benefit from the experience of mentors.

In addition to being a sounding board, all good mentors should be willing, where they can, to provide learning opportunities — including the chance to learn from failure. Mentors and trainees must both appreciate the value of celebrating success and of constructive criticism. And neither should see the role mainly as a ticket to prestigious speaking invitations, or to boosting publications and impact scores. At all times, the relationship needs to be one of trust and mutual respect, and of open and transparent communication.

That mentors should not expect to benefit makes outside support for mentoring all the more important. Funders and institutions would do well to invest more in mentorship training. Mentoring and mentorship could also be formally recognized as part of researcher evaluation.

For recipients of mentoring, the opportunity to share successes and talk through challenges with an experienced professional can be invaluable. For mentors, it is an opportunity to promote scholarship through the generations.

Acquiring the skills to become a good mentor takes time, an ever more precious commodity in researchers’ lives. But for mentors and would-be mentors, investment in learning will be worth the effort.

Science needs mentors

Taken from https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-02617-1

Mildred Dresselhaus in her lab at MIT.
Materials scientist Mildred Dresselhaus supervised more than 60 PhD students in five decades on the MIT faculty.Credit: Micheline Pelletier/Gamma-Rapho/Getty

Maria Mitchell, the first woman to become a professional astronomer in the United States, was one; so was materials scientist Mildred Dresselhaus, the ‘Queen of carbon science’. In common with many scientists, they desired to be mentors, guiding the next generation with no expectation of return.

The concept of a mentor, indeed the word itself, can be traced at least as far back as Homer’s Odyssey. In the ancient Greek epic, the wisdom goddess Athena took the form of a man called Mentor to assume the guardianship of the young prince Telemachus while his father, Odysseus, was away fighting the Trojan War. Athena’s Mentor was not only Telemachus’s protector, but also his educator and guide.

Mentoring is one aspect of good research supervision. But it doesn’t always happen, as a 2018 Nature survey on laboratory life showed. A majority of the survey’s respondents wanted more support for mentoring and managing.

The lack of mentoring is also among the reasons for the global rise of organized doctoral-training academies, where PhD candidates learn in groups, and where they can access scholarly experience and expertise in addition to that of their main supervisor.

Some employers recognize mentoring: a number of learned societies have formal schemes that assign mentors to trainees, for example. So do scholarly publishers, through their global trade association, STM.Some hard numbers on science’s leadership problems

Nature gives its own annual awards for excellence in mentoring. These awards, now in its 15th year, are again open for nominations for two prizes: one for a mid-career mentor and the other for a lifetime of achievement in mentoring. Each year, the awards recognize mentors from a different country or region; the 2019 edition invites nominations from India, which produced 24,300 PhD graduates in 2014, the fourth-highest number in the world after the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany. The deadline for applications is 6 October.

There’s no set formula for mentoring, as past winners of Nature’s awards have themselves said. Furthermore, the needs of young researchers are evolving as their environment changes. Many relatively new skills needed in research careers, such as the ability to conform to performance-management systems and run multidisciplinary research groups, would not have been relevant to some mentors earlier in their careers. But there are a number of ways in which researchers can benefit from the experience of mentors.

In addition to being a sounding board, all good mentors should be willing, where they can, to provide learning opportunities — including the chance to learn from failure. Mentors and trainees must both appreciate the value of celebrating success and of constructive criticism. And neither should see the role mainly as a ticket to prestigious speaking invitations, or to boosting publications and impact scores. At all times, the relationship needs to be one of trust and mutual respect, and of open and transparent communication.

That mentors should not expect to benefit makes outside support for mentoring all the more important. Funders and institutions would do well to invest more in mentorship training. Mentoring and mentorship could also be formally recognized as part of researcher evaluation.

For recipients of mentoring, the opportunity to share successes and talk through challenges with an experienced professional can be invaluable. For mentors, it is an opportunity to promote scholarship through the generations.

Acquiring the skills to become a good mentor takes time, an ever more precious commodity in researchers’ lives. But for mentors and would-be mentors, investment in learning will be worth the effort.

Never give up on your science!

On October 7th the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet awarded the 2019 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine to Gregg L. Semenza, Sir Peter J. Ratcliffe, and William G. Kaelin, Jr. for their discoveries of how cells sense and adapt to oxygen availability. Announcing the prize at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, the Nobel committee stated that their discoveries have paved the way for “promising new strategies to fight anaemia, cancer, and many other diseases.”

Each year, the Nobel Prize celebrates the achievements of great scientists and philosophers and the path they have taken to be called a Nobel laureate. For Sir Peter Ratcliffe however, the road to the Nobel Prize took a path less traveled. Surprizingly, his initial paper on oxygen sensing was rejected by Nature in 1992. Ratcliffe presented evidence of genetic responses to hypoxia that was called “unfit for publication” and “beyond understanding.” I don’t know about Ratcliffe, but if my paper was rejected because the contect was beyond the reviewer’s understanding, I would take that as a complement.

Interestingly enough, this has not been the first time that a Nobel laureate’s research has been initially rejected. Theoretical physicist Peter Higgs, who proposed the Higgs model, had his theories rejected by Physics Letters in 1964. He went on to win the Nobel prize in Physics in 2013. Simillarly, Rosalyn Yalow, who won the Nobel prize in Physiology and Medicine in 1977, had her initial paper on radioimmunoassays rejected.

What can we learn from these storeis? It is a lesson we can all benefit from, NEVER GIVE UP! Science is hard, very hard. Science will always be hard. I cannot stress this enough. Arguably, the most important lesson I have learned in graduate school is that the only thing you can control is how hard you work. Believe in your science and keep pressing, even in the face of rejection! More so than most professions, a career in science and medicine is about constantly learning.

Publishing is our way of sharing our excitement and passion for science with the world. Do not be afraid of rejection and most importantly never give up on your science!

Education Committee Announcements

Don’t forget the ASIP 2020 Annual Meeting in San Diego April 4-7, 2020 http://asip20.asip.org/

Intersted in becomming a member of ASIP? Contact me at alexander.sougiannis@uscmed.sc.edu www.linkedin.com/in/alexander-sougiannis

Gabriel Nuñez, MD elected to the National Academy of Medicine

ASIP Member Gabriel Nuñez, MD was elected to the National Academy of Medicine, one of the nation’s highest honors for health researchers. Election to the Academy is considered one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine and recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service.

Dr. Nuñez is currently the Paul de Kruif Endowed Professor of Pathology, Medical School at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He is recognized worldwide as one of the foremost experts in gastrointestinal and systemic inflammation, host-microbial interactions, and mucosal immunology.

Nuñez has published more than 350 articles in peer-reviewed journals — many in top-tier publications like Nature, Science and Cell. His research has been cited more than 100,000 times. Nuñez has also mentored more than 100 young scientists, including over 60 postdoctoral fellows.

He was selected for this prestigious award for leadership in the field of innate immunity and identifying Nod-like receptors (NLRs) and the link between NOD2 and Crohn’s disease.

He was also the recipient of the Rous-Whipple award.