Past Recipients of the President s Leadership Award for Advancing Women Faculty

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1 Past Recipients of the President s Leadership Award for Advancing Women Faculty Recipient Elizabeth A. Grimm, Ph.D. Waun Ki Hong Distinguished Chair in Translational Oncology Deputy Division Head for Research Affairs Professor, Melanoma Medical Oncology Division of Cancer Medicine Recipient Sharon Dent, Ph.D. Chair Epigenetics and Molecular Carcinogenesis Recipient Thomas W. Burke, M.D. Executive Vice President MD Anderson Cancer Network Recipient Maria Alma Rodriguez, M.D. Vice President, Medical Affairs Professor, Lymphoma/Myeloma

2 2016 Recipient of the President s Leadership Award Elizabeth A.Grimm, Ph.D. Waun Ki Hong Distinguished Chair in Translational Oncology Deputy Division Head for Research Affairs Professor, Melanoma Medical Oncology Division of Cancer Medicine Elizabeth A. Grimm, PhD, holds the Waun Ki Hong Distinguished Chair in Translational Oncology, and is professor in Melanoma Medical Oncology and holds a joint appointment in Experimental Therapeutics.She is the fourth recipient of the President s Leadership Award. Dr. Grimm received her undergraduate degree in Chemistry from Randolph Macon Women s college (now Randolph College) and her PhD in Microbiology and Immunology from the UCLA School of Medicine where she was an NIH T32 Immunology training grant recipient. Her dissertation was on Effector Target Cell interactions during T Cell Mediated Cytotoxicity. After a postdoctoral fellowship in the Molecular Biology Institute at UCLA, she was recruited to the NCI in 1980 in a Cancer Expert position where her work with human systems provided critical data leading to the approval of IL 2 as the first approved immunotherapeutic for cancer. In 1984, she was promoted to Senior Investigator, and her laboratory performed the first intratumor adoptive immunotherapy into the CNS of glioma patients. In 1986, Dr. Grimm was recruited to The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. She was promoted to professor in 1993 in the department of Molecular Cellular Oncology where she continued leadership in immunotherapy, particularly as a pioneer in revealing mechanisms of cytokines and their receptors. During this time she initiated and led the institutional T32 training grant in Cancer Biology, which she continued successfully for a decade. In 2004, she was awarded the first SPORE (Specialized Program in Research Excellence) for Melanoma which she has successfully renewed and continues to lead. In addition to the T32 and SPORE leadership, she has maintained multiple RO1s and other NIH peer reviewed funding for the past 30 years. Other leadership positions include serving at the request of President DePinho as the inaugural Chief Scientific Officer of the MD Anderson Moonshot, which she led for 14 months. Her current leadership positions also include serving as the Deputy Division Head for Research in Cancer Medicine. Her research passion is that of providing improved therapy to cancer patients, with a constant focus on mechanisms useful for immunotherapy. Specifically, her laboratory research members are now focusing on features of inflammation related to resistance to targeted and immunotherapies, including reactive oxidant mediated posttranslational modifications of key molecules in cutaneous and uveal melanoma. Dr. Grimm is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, and in 2014, received the Provost s Distinguished Faculty Mentor Award in recognition of her extensive commitment to mentoring. She has trained numerous clinical and laboratory fellows who are now faculty at both US and international locations. Dr. Grimm received the award at MD Anderson on March 24, 2016.

3 2015 Recipient of the President s Leadership Award Sharon Dent, Ph.D. Chair Epigenetics and Molecular Carcinogenesis Sharon Dent, Ph.D., chair of Epigenetics and Molecular Carcinogenesis and holder of the J. Ralph Meadows Chair, is the third recipient of the President s Leadership Award. Dr. Dent received her undergraduate and Ph.D. degrees in biochemistry from North Texas State University and Rice University, respectively. She then did a postdoctoral fellowship at Baylor College of Medicine and was a senior staff fellow in the Laboratory of Cellular & Developmental Biology at the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Dent joined the faculty of MD Anderson in 1993, progressed through the academic ranks in the department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and was appointed professor 11 years later. In 2007, she was named deputy department chair of her department as well as co director for the Center for Cancer Epigenetics. Throughout this entire period, she has been an active member of the UT Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, where she directed the Graduate Program in Genes and Development, served as president of the school s faculty, and chaired several of its committees. During a recent interim period, she was asked to step in as vice provost for Laboratory and Basic Science for the institution while pursuing her other responsibilities. Recently, she was named the first female chair of Epigenetics and Molecular Carcinogenesis where she has generated a new sense of optimism and community spirit and effectively narrowed the psychological distance between its home at MD Anderson s Science Park campus in Smithville and the main campus. Dr. Dent s nomination for this award came from four individuals, not the usual two, reflecting the great esteem in which she is held. All four speak to how she creates an environment where all can thrive. They said that she empowers the women around her, has a leadership style that is highly inclusive and effective and is friendly and non hierarchical, leads by example, and provides opportunity for faculty in her department and beyond Numbers reflect her commitment to fostering the careers of women. She has mentored 17 master s and Ph.D. students in her own lab. Of these trainees, 11 are women. She has also mentored 19 postdoctoral fellows, 14 of whom are women. On a national scale, where she is a regular on the speaker circuit, she never fails to include and highlight work from women scientists. While selflessly guiding the careers of more junior faculty and trainees, Dr. Dent s own scientific work has flourished. Her pioneering work illuminated how histone modifying enzymes alter chromatin architecture, provided the first evidence that transcriptional corepressor complexes function by reorganizing chromatin, and uncovered new roles for histone modifying enzymes in diverse biological processes such as mitosis, protein stability and telomere maintenance. She now focuses on how misregulation of these functions contributes to human disease, including cancer. In recognition of her ground breaking scientific work, she received The UT MD Anderson Faculty Achievement Award in Basic Science, The Julie and Ben Rogers Award for Excellence in Basic Research and, most recently, was elected a fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Dr. Dent received the award at MD Anderson on March 2, 2015.

4 2014 Recipient of the President s Leadership Award Thomas W. Burke, M.D. Executive Vice President MD Anderson Cancer Network Thomas W. Burke, M.D., executive vice president of MD Anderson Cancer Network, provides leadership for a team focused on engaging community hospitals and health care systems across the nation and around the world with the goal of improving the quality of cancer care in those communities. He works to ensure MD Anderson quality care is delivered by our partner, certified and specialty members and by the outpatient centers located in regional communities around Houston. Burke is a practicing gynecologic oncology surgeon with a research emphasis in vulvar and endometrial cancers. Dr. Burke received the award at MD Anderson on March 13, 2014.

5 2013 Recipient of the President s Leadership Award Maria Alma Rodriguez, M.D. Vice President, Medical Affairs Professor, Lymphoma/Myeloma Maria Alma Rodriguez, M.D., vice president of Medical Affairs and professor in the department of Lymphoma/Myeloma, has been selected the first recipient of the President s Leadership Award for Advancing Women Faculty. The award was established by Dr. Ronald DePinho to recognize one MD Anderson faculty member per year who has made a significant impact above and beyond the expected on the career advancement of MD Anderson women faculty. It is also intended to highlight our institutional desire to be a national leader in the advancement of the careers of women in academic science and medicine. One of seven nominees, Dr. Rodriguez received nominations and support letters from 12 colleagues women and men at MD Anderson, strong testament to the scope of her impact and their respect for her. Specific references to how she meets the criteria of the award permeate her nomination letters. A few examples reflect not only her commitment to the advancement of women, but also her actions to bring this about: She uses the power of her position: She has used her position of authority to encourage women committee members to fill leadership roles, nominate them for placement on the election ballot and encourage their nomination. her ability to recognize talent over title and match the individual s talent and passions to need speak to the many ways she has sought to advance women faculty

6 She encourages women faculty to reach: When the opportunity arises, she will approach, encourage and assist the woman faculty member to accept the challenge. One of the many lessons I have learned from her is to seek out opportunities even when they are not apparent. She demonstrates personal and professional commitment: she does all of this unrecognized and selflessly. She has devoted hours toward working on issues both large and small that have opened up new perspectives on daily challenges, built and instilled confidence in my own competencies As vice president of Medical Affairs, Dr. Rodriguez developed and oversees MD Anderson s Survivorship Program, the Nocturnalist Program, the Quality Officer Program and the Psychosocial Council. Her clinical expertise is in the treatment of patients with lymphoid malignancies, with a focus on aggressive B cell lymphomas, and salvage chemotherapy. Dr. Rodriguez received the award at MD Anderson on March 19, 2013.

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