October 2018

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October 12, 2018

Clint Joiner, MD, PhD and John "Pete" Lollar, III, MD will be Co-directors of Newly Awarded T32 Fellowship Training Grant

The new T32 entitled "Research Training in Pediatric Non-Malignant Hematology," will fund basic science laboratory research for the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center's MD and MD/PhD clinical fellows and PhD postdoctoral fellows. Twenty-eight research faculty members with the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, Georgia Tech, and Morehouse School of Medicine have been identified as mentors. Two new fellows, in their 2nd to 5th years of training, will be brought on each year for up to two years of support; when fully operational, the T32 will support four fellows each year. Drs. Clint Joiner and Pete Lollar are co-directors of the program, which is fully integrated into the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center's fellowship program.
Staci Arnold, MD, MPH and Nitya Bakshi, MD Receive K23 Awards
Dr. Staci Arnold, Assistant Professor, recently received a K23 award for her project titled, "Long-term Health-related Quality of Life and Cost of Allogeneic Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation for Children with Sickle Cell Disease." Dr. Nitya Bakshi, Assistant Professor, received a K23 award for her project, "Studying Intra-Individual Pain Variability in Sickle Cell Disease and Resolution of Pain after Hematopoietic Cell Transplant: A Novel Model System to Elucidate Mechanisms of Transition to Chronic Pain."
Lam Receives Fourth R01 to Tackle Sickle Cell Disease
Wilbur Lam, MD, PhD, Associate Professor, was recently awarded a four-year, $3 million NIH grant entitled "Redefining Clinical Viscosity in Sickle Cell Disease by Leveraging Microfluidic Technologies." This grant represents a close collaboration with the University of Minnesota, Georgia Tech, Emory University, and the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. Dr. Lam's lab proposes to use novel microfluidic and computational modeling techniques to model the different blood vessels and to quantitatively and more precisely define what viscosity means in different parts of the circulation within a sickle cell disease patient and how this property changes in the context of blood transfusions, which will lead to more patient specific transfusion guidelines. Notably this is Dr. Lam's 4th concurrent NIH R01.
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Paving the Way for Pediatric Cancer Research Support

Drs. Wait Aumann and Dan Wechsler represented Aflac at Hyundai DC Days in Washington on September 12-13. Dr. Wechsler spoke about the critical importance of pediatric cancer research support at a Rayburn House Office Building reception attended by a number of congressional representatives, and also moderated a Thought Leaders Luncheon at Hyundai's DC Headquarters. Dr. Aumann received the first installment of his Hyundai Young Investigator Award. Drs. Aumann and Wechsler joined this year's Hyundai Awardees from across the country at the Capitol.
3rd Annual Aflac Fall Research Retreat
The 3rd annual Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Fall Research Retreat was held this year at Chateau Elan Winery and Resort. The purpose of this retreat is to highlight the latest research developments of our current fellows and junior faculty and to connect under the common goal of improving our understanding and advancing the care of patients with hematologic and oncologic disorders. Special thanks to our featured guest speaker, Mignon Loh, MD. Dr. Mignon Loh is the Division Chief of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology at University of California - San Francisco (UCSF) where she also serves as Professor and holds an Endowed Chair in Pediatric Molecular Oncology. Dr. Loh's presentation was entitled, "JMML: Learning From Patients in a World without Walls: A Story of Genetics and Therapeutics." Pictured: (from left to right): Jenny Shim, MD, 3rd year fellow; Mignon Loh, MD, guest speaker; and Sherri Smart, MD, PhD, 3rd year fellow.
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Welcome New Faculty!
Please join us in welcoming the newest addition to the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, Jason Fangusaro, MD, Associate Professor and Carter S. Martin Endowed Chair. Dr. Fangusaro will be the new Director of the Aflac Developmental Therapeutics program and brings his expertise and specialty training in treating children with central nervous system malignancies, including brain and spinal cord tumors. His primary area of research is the development of early phase clinical trials, novel therapeutics and relevant biologic correlates in an effort to improve survival outcomes and minimize toxicities.
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Blum KA, Keller FG, Castellino S, Phan A, Flowers CR
"Incidence and outcomes of lymphoid malignancies in adolescent and young adult patients in the United States" - British Journal of Haematology

Ludwig NN, Sil S, Khowaja MK, Cohen LL, Dampier C
"Executive functioning mediates the relationship between pain coping and quality of life in youth with sickle cell disease" - Journal of Pediatric Psychology

Miller LH, Qu CK, Pauly M
"Germline mutations in the bone marrow microenvironment and dysregulated hematopoiesis" - Experimental Hematology

Wei Y, Maximov V, Morrissy AS, Taylor MD, Pallas DC, Kenney AM
"p53 Function is Compromised by Inhibitor 2 of Phosphatase 2A in Sonic Hedgehog Medulloblastoma" - Molecular Cancer Research

Yan D, Parker RE, Wang X, Frye SV, Earp HS, DeRyckere D, Graham DK
"MERTK promotes resistance to irreversible EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors in non-small cell lung cancers expressing wild-type EGFR-family members" - Clinical Cancer Research


Six members of the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta and Emory University were awarded 2018-19 Grants from the CURE Childhood Cancer: Congratulations to Kavita Dhodapkar, MD, Associate Professor; Kelly Goldsmith, MD, Associate Professor; Lubing Gu, MD, Assistant Professor; Lisa Ingerski, PhD, MS, Assistant Professor; Tobey MacDonald, MD, Professor; and Robert Schnepp, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor.
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