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Wilmot Cancer Institute Scientific Symposium

Save the Date for the 29th Annual Scientific Symposium!

Thursday, November 7, 2024

The Wilmot Cancer Institute Scientific Symposium aims to bring scientists together, working in basic, translational, and clinical cancer research, to share exciting findings, new projects, and fantastic success stories. 

2023 Scientific Symposium Recap

Karen Mustian, PhD, MPH, holds her Davey Award with a member of the Davey family beside her.Karen Mustian, PhD, associate director for Population Science at Wilmot, leader of Wilmot’s Cancer Prevention and Control Research Program (CPC) and a professor in the Department of Surgery, Cancer Control, received the Davey Award for Outstanding Research at the 28th Annual Wilmot Cancer Institute Symposium. The Davey Award is given annually to a University of Rochester faculty member who has made exceptional contributions to cancer research.

Mustian launched her cancer research career about two decades ago, when she joined URMC as a research assistant professor eager to find out how exercise could help alleviate some of cancer’s side effects, like fatigue. Since then, she’s moved up the ranks at URMC and Wilmot, becoming leader of Wilmot’s CPC research program and being named Wilmot’s first-ever associate director for Population Science over the summer. 

Mustian founded URMC’s PEAK Lab in 2009 and is a principal investigator (PI) for an R01 award focused on optimizing functional outcomes for older cancer survivors after chemotherapy. She is also PI and co-director of the UR NCI National Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP) Research Base Award. In 2019, URMC received $29 million from NCORP, placing Wilmot at the hub of a national clinical trials research network. As leader of Wilmot’s CPC research program, she has increased peer-reviewed funding by 67% since 2019 and has expanded the CPC program by recruiting 12 new members to the team.

In addition, more than 100 abstracts were submitted in October. Of those, five were selected to present oral presentations at the event. The oral presentations were given by:

  1. Allison T. Ryan: Driving CAR-T Cells to Solid Tumors 
  2. Adam Visca: Risk of Cardiovascular Mortality Among Patients Undergoing Cancer Treatments 
  3. Lauren Ghazal: Understanding Barriers and Facilitators to Research Engagement of Sexual and Gender Minority Adolescents and Young Adults with Cancer 
  4. Nikesha Gilmore: Associations of Medical Mistrust with Therapeutic Alliance and Patient-centered Communication in Cancer Care in Black and White Older Patients Receiving Cancer Treatment: Results from the Patient-centered Communication to Build Trust 
  5. Juliana Cazarin: The Oncogene MYC as a Driver of Circadian Clock Disruption and Dedifferentiation in the Lung: Implications in early Lung Carcinogenesis 

 

Finally, more than 90 posters were presented during the poster presentations. The following were selected as top posters.

  1. Mitigating Viral Impact on Lung Radiosensitivity (Angela Groves) 
  2. Stimulating the Type I Interferon Pathway to Enhance the Efficacy of Short-course Radiotherapy in Rectal Cancer (Maggie Lesch) 
  3. Energy from Reiki Treatments Translates to Reduce Fatigue in Breast and Prostate Cancer Patients on Hormone Therapy (Jeremy McGuire) 
  4. Light Intensity Physical Activity and Fatigue in Patients with Breast Cancer Receiving Chemotherapy: A URCC NCORP Nationwide Prospective Cohort Study (Lindsey Mattick) 
  5. Dosimetric Impact of Attenuation through Support Devices for Cranial Masks (Joshua Wancura) 
  6. Brain Metastasis Free Survival of HER2 Low and HER2 Zero Triple Negative Metastatic Breast Cancer: A Wilmot Cancer Institute (William Evans) 
  7. Strategies to Increase Racial Diversity in a Clinical Trial of Older Adults with Cancer Receiving Cancer Treatment at an Academic Institution: Results from the Patient-Centered Communication to Build Trust (PACT) Study (Jihane Jean)   
  8. The Role of H4K20me3 as Enhancers During TGF-B Induced EMT in Breast Cancer ((Bachelard Dieujuste) 
  9. ANP32E Causes H2A.Z to Accumulate at Large LTRs at the Expense of Gene Promoters (Michael Ayers) 

These achievements aside, the highlight of the day for many was hearing from Norman “Ned” Sharpless, MD, former director of the National Cancer Institute and professor of medicine, cancer policy and innovation at UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center in North Carolina.


Scientific Abstract Competition

Wilmot Cancer Institute invites all University of Rochester students, trainees, and faculty members to submit abstracts on basic, translational, or clinical cancer-related research for the 28th Annual Scientific Symposium! In this context, "cancer-related" may be intrepreted broadly. 

One abstract will be selected from each of Wilmot’s research focus areas to present at the symposium, and the remaining entries will participate in the scientific poster competition. All submissions must include the abstract title, authors with affiliations, research category, and the full abstract upload. The categories are:

  • Genetics, Epigenetics, and Metabolism
  • Cancer Microenvironment
  • Cancer Prevention & Control
  • Clinical Research

The deadline for abstract submissions has ended for 2023. Watch in fall 2024 for info on the selection process for the 2024 symposium. 

Selection Process and Prizes

Faculty judges will select one abstract from each category to present at the Wilmot symposium. The remaining abstract submissions will be presented during the scientific poster session, which will occur during the symposium luncheon. Faculty judges will rate the posters during lunch, and one winner will be selected for each category. 

 

Past Symposium Events 

2023 WCI Scientific Symposium

Norman "Ned" Sharpless, MD, former director of the National Cancer Institute and professor of medicine, cancer policy and innovation at UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center in North Carolina, gave the keynote address. Karen Mustian, PhD, associate director for Population Science at Wilmot, leader of Wilmot’s Cancer Prevention and Control Research Program (CPC) and a professor in the Department of Surgery, Cancer Control, received the Davey Award for Outstanding Research. More than 100 abstracts were submitted; five were selected for oral presentations and more than 90 for posters. 

2022 WCI Scientific Symposium 

Jeffrey C. Rathmell, Ph.D., Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of Immunobiology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, presented “Immunometabolism in Inflammation and the Obesity-Cancer Connection.” Paula Vertino, Ph.D., Wilmot Distinguished Professor in Cancer Genomics, received the Davey Award for oustanding cancer research. Additionally, nine poster presentations received recognition. View the agenda from the 2022 Wilmot Symposium.