Grant News

  • Huidong Shi, PhD, received a 2-year, $361K R21 grant from NIH/NCI for “Epigenetic regulation of T-cell dysfunction in chronic lymphocytic leukemia.”Project Narrative:Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is the most common adult leukemia in the US, and it remains incurable.  Half of CLL patients die not from CLL per se, but from disease-induced immune dysfunction and subsequent infections.  As seen with CLL leukemic cells, the enzyme indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) can induce a state of immunosuppression that causes increased susceptibility to infections and failure of anti-tumor immune responses.  IDO inhibitors are currently in clinical studies, as an attempt to rectify immune function in CLL patients.  Dr. Shi’s group aims to determine epigenetic alterations in immune cell dysfunction in CLL and to identify biomarkers associated with clinical responses to the IDO inhibitor 1-MT. This translational research will study samples collected from an investigator-initiated, open-label, phase I/II trial of 1-MT in relapsed/refractory CLL patients. The overall goal is to understand molecular mechanisms responsible for CLL immune dysfunction and to promote the development of effective immunotherapy against the disease.


  • Theodore S. Johnson, MD, PhD, received an NIH R13 Research Conference Grant in the amount of $6500 to support the “Career Development and Increasing Diversity in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology” conference, which occurred May 14-17, 2014 in Chicago.Project Narrative: Ethnic minorities, women, and other diversity groups are under-represented in leadership positions for medical specialties and pediatric subspecialties, including Pediatric Hematology/Oncology.  Working together, the American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology (ASPHO) leadership and general membership are using a variety of approaches to advance diversity issues within ASPHO.  This R13 supported a diversity-oriented workshop during the 2014 ASPHO annual meeting to develop Strategies for Increasing Workforce Diversity in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology and address the barriers to entry and advancement for trainees and professionals with diverse backgrounds so that they can become successful leaders.  A key addition to this year’s workshop was the expansion of trainee travel awards to include sponsorship of not only fellowship trainees with diverse backgrounds, but also under-represented junior trainees (medical students and residents) who were paired with faculty “guides.”  These guides helped ensure that the sponsored trainees were able to optimize their conference experience.  Guides also provided point-of-contact and mentorship within the field of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology as trainees begin to make career development plans following the conference.


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Allison Brown
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Written by Allison Brown

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