NCRC Attracts New Faculty Member Recruits
Translational Oncology research is strengthened by new lab
Mark S. Cohen MD, FACS, Associate Professor of Surgery and Director of Endocrine Surgery Research recently moved his lab to NCRC from the University of Kansas, as part of the Translational Oncology program. We spoke with him recently.
From left to right: Chitra Subramanian, Ph.D., MBA, Mark Cohen, M.D., FACS, Joseph Bazzill, B.S. (technician) and Patrick Grogan (M.D., Ph.D. student), in the Cohen lab at NCRC
About his research and his move to NCRC
We are very excited to move in here at NCRC. As a clinician/scientist, I try to bridge my translational cancer research into clinical applications for patients with endocrine tumors, head and neck cancer, breast cancer, and melanoma. My clinical efforts are focused on cancer patients with endocrine tumors and melanoma requiring surgical treatment. In the laboratory, our work is focused on translational targeted cancer-drug development and drug delivery systems in thyroid cancer, head and neck squamous cell cancer, melanoma and breast cancer. Specifically we have developed a patented nanocarrier-based drug-delivery platform which improves cancer drug delivery to tumors and their draining lymph nodes for enhanced efficacy while decreasing the systemic toxicity of the drugs. Additionally our lab is translating novel natural product compounds called withanolides as well as novel heat-shock protein inhibitors into improved anti-cancer drugs for future clinical trials in thyroid cancer, head and neck squamous cell cancer, breast cancer, melanoma and adrenal cancer here at the University of Michigan. We have been fortunate to receive funding from the Susan G. Komen Foundation, the American Cancer Society, and the National Institute of Health and plan to further develop this research program through active collaborations here at NCRC.
The interdisciplinary and collaborative nature of his work
Our work is very interdisciplinary and in just being here a month, I have already established several new collaborations with faculty members from several departments working on novel cancer drug development and delivery. I think our platform has implications in a number of different cancers, so it allows me to collaborate with other faculty members to find new applications in several different malignancy types. Our lab is continuing several collaborations with investigators from across the country and we now have several novel candidate drug compounds that we are moving through preclinical studies. We hope to move our first nano carrier chemotherapy drug into clinical trials in the next year here at U of M. The lab space here at NCRC provides an ideal environment for this type of interdisciplinary interaction and collaborative effort.
How NCRC is different from other similar research centers
The set up currently at NCRC in my opinion is very forward-thinking. Being able to combine a core group of translational researchers – clinicians, clinician-scientists and basic scientists, to bridge the bench to bedside approach is best way to accelerate scientific discovery and will be a model for many places to follow. For decades, academic departments have been compartmentalized. Bringing different disciplines together, with core facilities to support them, can be a daunting task but is something that is happening at NCRC. Such an environment provides researchers with those sparks of interaction that can develop into both novel discoveries and a mechanism to develop it more rapidly into practice. Now that we have completed our move, we are looking forward to getting these projects ramped up here at Michigan!
NCRC a factor in decision to move to Michigan
The space and the ability to collaborate directly with some of the key scientists in areas of cancer drug development and drug delivery was a big draw for me. Access to and being a part of interdisciplinary programs is a significant benefit to my research goals. I foresee a lot more faculty members who are interested in multi-disciplinary interactions considering moving here. I think NCRC is going to grow rapidly. The space is being developed in a forward thinking way to allow for different disciplines to come together cohesively and once the engine is turned on, it has great potential to create a multidisciplinary mecca for translational oncology research.
NCRC Support Significant Factor in Hospital Patient Meal Preparation
Patient Food and Nutrition Services Moves Kitchen from NCRC back to the hospital after completed renovations
Another phase in Patient Food and Nutrition Services’ “room service” delivery model was completed this week when PFANS moved its patient food production center and Meals on Wheels preparation functions out of the North Campus Research Complex to a renovated kitchen on Level B2 of University Hospital.
NCRC Building 18 was home to the U-M Hospital’s patient food production center and Meals on Wheels preparation functions for the past fourteen months while a new and improved facility was being built. The new B2 kitchen will allow PFANS to implement a patient “room service” model in early 2013 that will give patients more control over the timing and selection of the food and beverages they receive.
“Our patient food is good now, but when we begin this model it is going to be great,” says UMHS Patient Food and Nutrition Services Head Chef Stephen Schifano.
“This new service will allow patients to receive fresh food, cooked to order within an hour, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.”
“It has been a great experience working with the NCRC staff members to complete this important step in our process,” adds Elaine Allore, Training Specialist Lead for PFANS. “The team there, especially Darcy Rathjen and Preston Smith, has been very flexible and worked with us to resolve issues quickly. Their support and accommodation have really helped this to work.”
Mary Tresh, NCRC Facilities Director had a similar positive response. “The team at NCRC was glad to see the large commercial kitchen be put to good use. We understood the challenges that working out of temporary space would present to the PFANS staff and we tried to make their transition as seamless as possible,” says Tresh.
While a room service model already exists at the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital, this renovation will allow for expansion of patient room service to UH and the Cardiovascular Center. NCRC was glad to be able to provide an interim home to PFANS during this phase of the project.
For more information on this project, visit http://www.med.umich.edu/i/pfans/rsproject/ or for questions, contact the Room Service project team via email at: FANS-RoomService@med.umich.edu
Two New Art Exhibits at NCRC
NCRC Art Program at the intersection of science and art
NCRC recognizes the significant value of art on its campus. The NCRC art program celebrates the innovative and collaborative culture of NCRC through art. By design, NCRC is a collection of many groups that work collaboratively. Art provides a common ground. This program also draws on the considerable talent and resources of the U-M School of Art and Design, both faculty members and students. The art program is beginning to take shape in interesting ways.
Two new exhibits are on view at NCRC this month - both connecting scientific discovery and art in creative ways.
Art Under the Microscope
This exhibition of sixteen art quilts features scientifi*c photography taken through the microscope - BioArtography. The Society for the Arts in Healthcare has partnered with the University of Michigan Health System's Gifts of Art program and the University of Michigan Center for Organogenesis to showcase this fascinating combination of art and science. This
collection of quilts was created by Fiber Artists @ Loose Ends.
The exhibition aims to honor scienti*c research eff*orts, enrich community spaces by bringing the arts into everyday life, and raise public awareness about the importance of the arts in healthcare settings.
As a compliment to Art Under the Microscope, an educational satellite exhibition, Under the Microscope, will highlight tissue staining techniques similar to those illustrated in the quilts. This will be on view in Building 10, fi*rst fl*oor (next to quilt exhibition). Microscopes and special stains are used to examine tissues for alterations in structure or function that are characteristic of health or disease.
Art Under the Microscope
October 19 - December 14
Rotunda Gallery, Building 18, 1st Floor
November 7 and November 29, 11 am-2 pm.
Building 10, fi*rst *floor (next to quilt exhibition)
* Microscopes made available courtesy of Mager Scienti*c
* Demonstrations courtesy of Mager Scienti*c, BioArtography staff* and the Microscopy & Image-Analysis Lab
Animal II: Amanda Lilleston
Emerging Art Series
Amanda, a recent MFA graduate at the University of Michigan School of Art and Design, takes the study of anatomy and turns her vision into large woodblock collage prints. This artistic interest in the exploration of the vulnerability and strength of the human body began while watching surgeries, researching physiology, and through assisting in dissections. She combines the techniques of woodblock, collage and chine-collé.
October 3 through December 14, 2012
Connections Gallery, Building 18, NCRC
The following chart is a snapshot of the allocation of the net assignable space at NCRC at the end of the fiscal year 2012.
Of the total net assignable square feet (NASF) of space - 1.05 million sq. ft. which includes the on-site GMP facility, the largest allocation (34%) is to non-lab based research and administrative space. This includes the administrative departments and groups that were the first ones to move to NCRC, as well as "dry" research labs.
The presence of wet research labs has grown at NCRC, with the creation of several new scientific programs and the space allocated to such labs is now at 21%.
Research support infrastructure such as the scientific core services, has more than kept pace with the growth of research labs, and accounts for 18% of the NASF.