International Leukemia Experts Gather to Honor Wilmot Cancer Center's John Bennett, M.D.

Symposium on Myeloid Neoplasms held to recognize contributions of renowned URMC oncologist

June 06, 2012

Some of the world’s leading experts on leukemia, from both Europe and North America, will gather Saturday, June 9, for a Symposium on Myeloid Neoplasms organized to honor the many contributions to the field of John M. Bennett, M.D. The symposium will be held from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., at the Hatch Recital Hall at the Eastman School of Music. The event will also celebrate Bennett’s 80th year and his commitment to community volunteerism for the Arts. He is a board member and avid supporter of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra.

Dr. Bennett, who last year was named recipient of the B.J. Kennedy Award and Lecture for Scientific Excellence in Geriatric Oncology by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, is widely recognized as an international expert in leukemia and a pioneer in myelodysplastic syndromes research.  He was a founder of the French-American-British Cooperative Leukemia Working Group and is renowned for his research into the diagnosis and treatment of hematological malignancies.  A major focus of his research was to integrate a new classification of MDS into the study of new agents that would hold promise for people suffering from this blood disorder, which often leads to leukemia.

In 2004, Bennett was honored with the Career Achievement in Clinical Hematology Award by the Celgene Corporation. He designated the award funds to establish the Carol and John Bennett Traveling Fellowship Award for talented oncology fellows or junior faculty members at the Wilmot Cancer Center who present research at national and international conferences. The funds are awarded annually to the individual presenting the best research. 

Researchers and colleagues from as far away as France and Germany, as well as some from the most highly regarded U.S. institutions such as Harvard and Mayo Clinic, will be at the event to share their knowledge and honor Bennett.

“To have some of the world’s brightest minds and leading researchers on MDS come together to honor John affirms the great respect his colleagues have for him and his status as an international leader in the study and management of this disease,” said Jonathan Friedberg, M.D. chief of the division of Hematology/Oncology at the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center. “His early work has served as a foundation for many advances made over the past several decades and he continues to be a valued mentor to a new generation of researchers.”

Bennett is currently professor emeritus of oncology in medicine, laboratory medicine and pathology at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC).  He joined the faculty of the University of Rochester as head of the division of hematology/oncology at the Highland Hospital in 1969. In 1974, he became the clinical director of the University of Rochester’s cancer center, a position he held for 20 years.

Bennett has held a number of leadership positions throughout the world, including serving as the founder and first chairman of The Myelodysplastic Syndromes Foundation, and as a founding member of the International Society for Geriatric Oncology. He has served as editor-in-chief of Leukemia Research journal for more than 20 years and serves on the editorial boards of several additional journals. He has published more than 500 articles and chapters.

 A graduate of Harvard College, Bennett earned his medical degree at Boston University and completed his residency at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston. He completed a hematology Fellowship at Tufts University/Boston City Hospital and later served as head of the morphology/cytochemistry section at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center before moving to Rochester.

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