May 17, 2017

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Director's Column - A Victory Lap for Miles for Moffitt by Dr. Tom Sellers

The year just keeps getting better and better. The Scientific Symposium was spectacular, prompting me to characterize it as the best day of the year so far. But then along comes the Miles for Moffitt event! Dr. List set a very high goal: to raise one million dollars. It took a little while to build momentum, but deadlines have a way of spurring action. Thus, as the final week came up, activity really picked up steam. I'm sure you've all heard by now that by race day we shattered our goal and our attendance records, with $1.03 million (so far) and more than 7,000 participants. Because of the incredible corporate support, all costs of the race were covered, and every dollar raised from registration, virtual runners, and team donations goes for research. Thanks to everyone who ran, walked, volunteered or donated monies for the cause. A special shout out to Event Planner Allison Fonner and her team for running an exceptional event.

The race had some similarities to previous years, the same racecourse starting near the USF Sun Dome and passing in front of the hospital, clinics and research buildings and the superb emceeing by our very own Joshua Rivera. The survivor celebration was the best ever, with survivors coming to the stage to be cheered. We also recognized the lives of those who lost their battle to cancer. Miles for Moffitt is about celebrating our survivors and avenging those we have lost, taking pride in accomplishing something by supporting research. Matt Kupec likened it a college football pre-game party - the energy was that palpable.


I was chatting with Dr. Jong Park at the event. He's been to every race we've had, going back to 2006. He reminded me that $52,000 was raised that first year, and we SPLIT the amount. He got half, but was so appreciative that he continues to pay it forward. He seemed a bit relieved that we no longer ask prior winners to wear a tee shirt that says "Ask me about my research" on the back - not because he wasn't excited. But it turns out that people were asking him while he was running, further enhancing the challenge of getting enough air to breathe.

We owe a lot to Karen Dalton and Priscilla Mack for their heroic efforts to launch Miles for Moffitt twelve years ago. It took hundreds of volunteer hours to line up sponsors and develop the infrastructure to host an event like this. It grew, and grew, and grew and has become one of the signature events in Tampa. Not only for a good cause, but a healthy one, too. In my article last week, seven awards were announced from last year's fundraising. With the strong finish, we have more money than we thought we'd have, creating opportunities to do even more. I suspect I'll get a few e-mails or phone calls with some really great ideas, which is why we work so hard to raise money to help them move along.

Although we're really pleased, we aim to raise even more next year. In the interim, we have the Magnolia Ball on May 20th. I can't wait to see how that turns out!  

Miles for Moffitt Recap Video


(NEW) Signals Spotlight: Heiko Enderling, PhD

Dr. Enderling is an assistant member in the Integrated Mathematical Oncology Department. His research interests are focused on developing clinically- and experimentally-motivated and quantitative models of cell-cell interactions within a tumor, as well as at the tumor-host interface. In particular, the work in his laboratory focuses on the role of cancer stem cells in tumor progression and treatment response, with the ultimate goal to improve patient-specific treatment design.

Did you participate in Miles for Moffitt? Why is it important for team members to participate each year?
Yes, I did participate in Miles for Moffitt this year, as well as every year since joining Moffitt as a faculty member in 2013. I am not a runner, but my motivation to participate includes (1) fundraising for our innovative science here, (2) being part of the Moffitt family and joining other researchers, doctors, nurses, administrators, and support staff in supporting our patients and donors, and (3) getting the little bit of exercise once a year. The energy on race day is truly remarkable. Running together with patients who proudly sign their shirt with the months and years they are cancer survivors thanks to the treatment they have received at Moffitt is very rewarding. Discussing our science with community members and sponsors also gives the scientists in my lab and myself great exposure.  


This year, you were awarded a Miles for Moffitt research grant. Can you tell us more about the research study being funding by this award?
Human papillomavirus-related oropharyngeal cancer is one of the few types of cancers increasing in incidence. Treatment with radiotherapy provides 75-95% five-year locoregional control (LRC). Why most, but not all, patients are cured in cohorts of similar stage and tumor volume remains unknown. Reliable biomarkers are direly needed to predict radiation response and to maximize cure rates while minimizing associated toxicities. We propose the first step in filling this gap by investigating the patient-specific tumor-immune ecosystem as prognostic factor and actionable biomarker for individualized RT outcome. Our preliminary data suggests that the effectiveness of radiation in eliminating the cancer is a combination of the direct lethal effect of radiation on both tumor and immune populations, and the subsequent indirect effect of stimulating a successful antitumor immune response. The Miles for Moffitt research grant will help us to assess the tumor-immune ecosystem composition on retrospective tissue specimen. This will inform a mathematical model to simulate radiation therapy and identify tumor-immune ecosystems that may be associated with oropharyngeal cancer cure. We then want to use the model to explore the immunologic consequences of different dose schemas, as well as innovative radiation protocols. This project will respond to two unmet clinical needs. Patient-specific biomarker information can be used to de-escalate RT and reduce common RT-associated toxicities without sacrificing cure, and therapy can be intensified or adapted (either alone or in combination with targeted agents) for patients that are predicted to fail the standard of care RT. This will motivate profound changes to how we conceive of and clinically prescribe radiation.  

How did your career in mathematics bring you to a career in cancer research?
My undergraduate studies were actually in applied computer science in a joint degree with human medicine. The concept of this Bachelor and Master program "Computer Visualistics" is to train an interdisciplinary workforce with quantitative skills that can be applied in a hospital setting. I was a part-time computer programmer in my medicine professor's lab, who participated in a European Framework on mathematical modeling in cancer. Through this framework I met the now IMO department chair Sandy Anderson, whom I had the pleasure of training with as an exchange student for five months. Sandy's fascinating work motivated me to pursue a PhD in mathematical oncology. Since then, I have had the pleasure of working in cancer biology, first in a hospital in Dundee, Scotland, then in Boston, and now here at Moffitt. What is important to notice is that I don't see myself as a mathematician but as a cancer researcher. Mathematics is the tool that I use to analyze data and identify mechanisms that underlie complex biological processes and clinical treatment response pattern. The IMO department here at Moffitt is truly unique in its integration in cancer biology and clinical oncology. Mathematics alone will never be able to cure cancer. But in synergy with the many other expertise of our colleagues and collaborators we may be able to contribute a small piece of the big cancer puzzle.  


You oversee the HIP-IMO Program. Can you tell us more about the program and why it is so important to mentor high school students interested in math and science?
The High school Internship Program in Integrated Mathematical Oncology (HIP IMO) delivers interdisciplinary team science research experiences for high school students to help prepare them for cancer research careers. The program runs for 8 weeks each summer. The first two weeks are busy with introductory lectures into cancer biology, mathematical modeling, and computer programming boot camps. For the remainder of the program, students work under the direction and guidance of IMO faculty and postdoctoral fellow mentors in ongoing research projects. Most interns will develop their own mathematical models and computational simulations to answer specific questions posed by their mentors. The program includes different presentations so that the students learn to prepare and present their results, culminating in a final presentation on research day in front of their parents, teachers, and Moffitt researchers and patients. HIP IMO raises awareness of the intellectual value and excitement of multidisciplinary cancer research for students with exceptional quantitative skills. Most students are unaware of the opportunity to apply mathematics, physics, engineering, or computer science in such a rewarding career. With the HIP IMO program we aim to challenge the technical and quantitative skills of the students and push them to also excel in life sciences research. We evaluate the success of the HIP IMO by program by the number of alumni pursuing double majors in college that include both mathematics and biology. These students will successfully traverse established, long-standing department barriers to become leaders in multidisciplinary cancer research thus insuring our field will gain from the inclusion of motivated, talented and skilled individuals. The number of applicants has almost quadrupled from 17 in 2015 to 63 this year. With most IMO faculty donating their valuable time to mentor interns, we are proud to enroll 14 HIPsters in 2017. These students will, without a doubt, also teach us yet again what curious young minds can achieve if you let and guide them.  



(NEW) Moffitt Featured on National Morning News Program

Moffitt  has once again appeared on the national news - for the third time in 45 days! The cancer center and Dr. Frederick Locke were featured on ABC's Good Morning America Tuesday for a story about breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL). The news program interviewed Dr. Locke and his patient, Stacey Boone, about her BIA-ALCL treatment at Moffitt.

A Link Between Plastic Surgery and Breast Cancer?

(NEW) MRI Town Hall is June 26

Join us on June 26 at 11:00 a.m. in the Ted & Marty Couch Auditorium for the MRI Town Hall Meeting. This meeting will be sure to "cover all the bases!" And there will be special guest at the reception following the meeting.

Please send your RSVP and questions to


(NEW) Community Resource Directory Now Available

Moffitt's Community Health Needs Assessment revealed access to care was a top priority for our area. One of Moffitt's strategies to improve access to healthcare was to develop a Community Resource Directory for patients and their family. The comprehensive directory is also available to team members as a resource of information to help patients and community members in need of services.


For more information, please contact Jenna Davis, Community Benefit Coordinator, x6298.

Appropriations Act and Award Notices

Now that the 2017 Appropriations Act has been signed, Moffitt is expecting revised Notices of Award (NOAs) for approximately 15 NIH grants issued while the Continuing Resolution (CR) was in effect. We have been in regular contact with our Grants Management Office (GMO) Specialist at NIH regarding the reduced funding level for the last few months. We know that as soon as they receive approval to do so, NIH will issue revised NOAs restoring CR funding back to the 100% level. We have been assured that this will be done without prompting and as quickly as possible.

When OSR has the NOA in hand, we will process the revision and forward the information to our colleagues in Research Finance so that the impacted budgets can be increased appropriately, and they will notify your Research Financial Analyst. Please note, however, we have also been told that the NOAs to restore funding will take a lower priority to new funding and annual continuations. The GMO is interested in making sure new funds are issued as quickly as possible and those issued under CR should have ample funds for operations in the meantime. OSR will continue to monitor and follow up on awards that need revised NOAs until we have resolution for all of them. We are communicating very purposely knowing that the more we contact NIH about each award, the more we can potentially slow down the process.

If you have any questions, please contact Margaret Fonner, x6519.


 Research Staff Refresher Course

Join us on May 23 for a research staff refresher course. This is mandatory for all Population Science research staff that work with protected health information; however, anyone can attend.

It is an one hour meeting that will go over the following:
• Translation and interpreting for non-English speaking patients
• How to protect protected health information in a modern world (fax, email, etc.)
• What to do if your participant is unable to physically sign or has a proxy
• Best practices on protecting participant information

Date: Tuesday, May 23 
Time: 3:00 - 4:00 p.m.
Location: Stabile Research Building, Ted and Marty Couch Auditorium

For more information, please contact Nina Nass.

Certified Effort Reporting Process Update

An upgrade has been made to Lawson to provide an enhanced feature for routing action oriented items, such as the certification of effort reports. It allows us to improve the delivery of effort reports, as well as how the effort certifier action items are performed. 

The upgraded version of Lawson allows the certifier to receive his or her effort report through email, and the ability to approve or indicate further review is needed directly from the email message. To ensure security surrounding this process when the action item is selected, a prompt will appear so that the certifier can enter their network username and password. The process is developed so that only the user with the appropriate access can perform the action item. If a certifier forwards their effort reporting email to another individual that person will not be able to perform the action item associated with the effort report.

We were also able to provide some aesthetic changes to the effort report to hopefully provide the certifier with more meaningful information.

This enhanced delivery will minimize many of the Internet Explorer issues and problems experienced by MAC users utilizing the Safari web browser. We will provide more information as soon as the Lawson upgrade has been confirmed.

We are very excited about this improvement, which will make effort certification easier.  

Grants and Funding Announcements

NIH Director's Early Independence Award for Exceptional Junior Scientists

The National Institutes of Health has announced the NIH Director's Early Independence Awards funding opportunities for exceptional junior scientists to accelerate their entry into an independent research careers by forgoing the traditional post-doctoral training period. This is a restricted submission and requires a Moffitt pre-application due on June 1 at 4:00 p.m. The final submission to NIH if selected by Moffitt is September 22.

Eligibility Requirements:
• Candidates must have completed their degree or residency within one year of application date.
• Candidates must not be in an independent position.
• Candidates must have received a PhD, MD, DO, DC, DDS, DVM, OD, DPM, ScD, EngD, Dr PH, DNSc, ND, PharmD, DSW, PsyD, or equivalent doctoral degree from an accredited domestic or foreign institution.

The pre-application must include a one page letter of introduction and a two-page research outline in PDF format. For more information, contact Maureen Ahearn, x8824.

Chotiner Pediatric Research Pilot Funding Opportunity

Moffitt leadership is pleased to announce a pilot funding opportunity focused on pediatric cancer with preference given to proposals in sarcoma or a focus on adolescent and young adults. This opportunity is open to all Moffitt faculty ranks. The maximum award amount is up to $60,000 for 12 months.

This competitive opportunity requires the submission of a brief proposal consisting of:
• A face page that includes a one paragraph scientific abstract
• A two-page description of the research plan
• A one page budget and budget justification for the 12 month period
• NIH biosketch, including a list of pending and funded grants

Face Page Template | Grant Guidelines

Submission deadline is August 1, 4:00 p.m. Please submit your proposal and biosketch to Maureen Ahearn, x8824.

Research Lab 360: Cores, Labs, and Space

Clear Eyewash Stations for Annual Fire Marshal Visit

The State Fire Marshal is expected to inspect Moffitt June 6-8. Both of the recessed eyewash stations on MRC3 and MRC4 need to be cleared of all coffee and tea cups, food, and supplies. There are two breakrooms available at the east and west ends of the hallway to keep these items. Thank you for your cooperation.

LRO Research Pager

Research Environmental Health and Safety has one of its team members on call 24/7/365 to assist with after-hours emergencies (i.e., spills, -80C freezer issues, etc.). In order to reach the on call team member, please dial 813-256-4646 and follow the verbal prompt to enter a phone number or numeric message and then press the pound sign to send the information. The team member will respond within 30 minutes of receiving the page. If no response is received, please call Moffitt Security at 813-745-8022.

Seminars and Events

Cancer Epidemiology Program Teas, Contact Suellen Sachariat
The CE Teas provide an informal setting for discussion of a spectrum of topics (e.g., novel research ideas, troubleshooting, the latest published findings, obstacles to the scientific/academic process, others' ongoing research). The series has met with success and as a result several additional teas have been added. 
May 19: Calendar   May 23: Calendar May 31: Calendar

May 18 - Postdoctoral Affairs Career Development Seminar, Contact Shonda Sterner
Joshua Henkin, PhD, Career Counselor and Founder, STEM Career Services, Arlington, VA
Creating a Powerful Resume - Inside Tips from a PhD Hiring Manager
9:30 - 11 a.m., Stabile Research Building, Ted and Mary Couch Auditorium

Calendar | Flyer

May 19 - Postdoctoral Affairs Career Development Seminar, Contact Shonda Sterner
Joshua Henkin, PhD, Career Counselor and Founder, STEM Career Services, Arlington, VA
Leveraging LinkedIn - Attracting Recruiters and Finding the Best Jobs
11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., Stabile Research Building, Ted and Marty Couch Auditorium

Calendar | Flyer

(NEW) May 18 - Integrated Mathematical Oncology and Physical Sciences in Oncology Center Special Seminar, Contact Danae Paris
Hermann B. Frieboes, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Bioengineering, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY
Evaluation of Cancer Nanotherapy via Computational Simulation
12:00 - 1:00 p.m., Stabile Research Building, Atrium 4

Calendar | Flyer
(NEW) May 18 - Molecular Oncology Research in Progress, Contact Catherine Reyes
John Koomen, PhD, Associate Member, Scientific Director, Proteomics Core, Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, FL
Proteometabolomics Elucidation of Drug Resistance Mechanisms in Multiple Myeloma
2:00 - 3:00 p.m., Stabile Research Building, David Murphey Conference Room (Refreshments will be provided)

Calendar | Flyer
May 19 -  Basic Science Guest Speaker, Contact Yvette Mieles
Andrea Ventura, MD, PhD, Associate Member, Cancer Biology and Genetics Program, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY
Cancer Modeling in the CRISPR Age
2:00 - 3:00 p.m., Stabile Research Building, David Murphey Conference Room

Calendar | Flyer
May 23 - Basic Science Guest Speaker, Contact Yvette Mieles
Bruce Adams, PhD, Director of Research and Development, Xcell Biosciences, San Francisco, CA
Avatar™: A Novel Cell Culture System for Control of Microenvironmental Oxygen and Pressure
10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m., Stabile Research Building, Ferman Family Conference Room

Calendar | Flyer
May 24 - Post Doctoral Affairs Career Development Seminar, Contact Shonda Sterner
Tracy Costello, PhD, Director, Office of Postdoctoral Affairs, Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, FL
Maximize your Postdoc Experience with an Individual Development Plan
11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., Stabile Research Building, David Murphey Conference Room

Calendar | Flyer
May 25 - Experimental Hematology Seminar Series, Contact Jill Cass
Keith Stewart, MB, ChB, Carlson and Nelson Endowed Director Center for Individualized Medicine Vasek and Anna Maria Polak Professor of Cancer Research, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, MN
Towards Individualized Myeloma Therapy
12:00 - 1:00 p.m., Stabile Research Building David Murphey Conference Room
Lunch provided to the first 50 attendees

Learn more about Dr. Stewart Calendar | Flyer
(NEW) June 5 - Postdoctoral Affairs Career Development Seminar, Contact Shonda Sterner
Thomas Magaldi, PhD, Office of Career and Professional Development, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY
Professional Development on a PhD's Schedule
11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. AND 12:30 - 1:30 p.m., Stabile Research Building, Atrium 2 (RSVP is required to

Calendar, 11:30 a.m. | Calendar, 12:30 p.m. | Flyer

(NEW) June 5 - Postdoctoral Affairs Career Development Seminar, Contact Shonda Sterner
Thomas Magaldi, PhD, Office of Career and Professional Development, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY
The Effect Non-Academic Job Search
4:30 - 6:00 p.m., Stabile Research Building, David Murphey Conference Room

Calendar | Flyer
(NEW) June 7 - Anatomic Pathology Grand Rounds, Contact Maria Christophilopoulos
Raouf Nakhleh, MD, Professor of Pathology, Director of Surgical Pathology, Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, FL
Interpretive Diagnostic Error Reduction in Surgical Pathology
12:00 - 1:00 p.m., Stabile Research Building, Ferman Family Conference Room (Lunch provided to first 60 attendees)

Calendar | Flyer
(NEW) June 7 - Basic Science Grand Rounds, Contact Shonda Sterner
Monte M. Winslow, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Genetics, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA
Molecular Determinants of Lung Cancer Growth and Metastasis
12:00 - 1:00 p.m., Stabile Research Building, David Murphey Conference Room (Lunch provided to the first 75 attendees)

Calendar | Flyer
June 8 - Grand Rounds in Population Science (GRIPS), Contact Christine Abel
Kenneth W. Goodman, PhD, FACMI, Director, Institute for Bioethics and Health Policy, Co-director, UM Ethics Programs, University of Miami, Miami, FL
Title to be announced
11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., Stabile Research Building David Murphey Conference Room

Learn more about Dr. Goodman | Calendar 
June 9 - Cancer Biology Student Organization Sponsored Research Seminar, Contact Cathy Gaffney
Suzanne Ostrand-Rosenberg, PhD, Professor of Biological Sciences, Robert & Jane Meyerhoff Chair of Biochemistry, University of Maryland, Baltimore County,  Baltimore, MD
Schizophrenic Myeloid-derived Suppressor Cells: Their Role in Cancer, Obesity and Pregnancy
12:00 - 1:00 p.m., Stabile Research Building, David Murphey Conference Room (Lunch provided for the first 70 attendees)

Calendar | Flyer
(NEW) June 12 - Cancer Biology and Evolution Symposium, Contact Catherine Reyes
Join us for this year's symposium. Postdoctoral fellows, graduate students and laboratory staff in the Cancer Biology and Evolution Program will present talks and poster on their science. Awards will be given the top talks and posters selected by event attendees.

9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., Stabile Research Building, Atrium and David Murphey Conference Room

Calendar | Register
June 17 - Hematopathology Educational Symposium, Contact Maria Christophilopoulos
Bruce Wenig, MD,
Senior Member, Anatomic Pathology Department, Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, FL
Head and Neck Lymphoma and Mimickers
9:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m., Moffitt Clinic Building, Owl's Den Conference Room (Lunch will be served)

Calendar | Flyer

(NEW DATE) June 20 - Population Science Research Series, Contact Nina Naas
Lori Kirchoff and Caitlin McNally, Regulatory Specialists, Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, FL
Regulatory in Observational Trials
12:00 - 1:00 p.m., Stabile Research Building, Ferman Family Conference Room


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