19th Annual Zubrod Memorial Lecture & Sylvester Cancer & Research Poster Session
James Allison, Ph.D.
Chair, Department of Immunology
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
James P. Allison, Ph.D., earned his doctorate at The University of Texas at Austin and did his postdoctoral fellowship in molecular immunology at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California. Dr. Allison is currently Professor and Chair of the Department of Immunology, Executive Director of the Immunotherapy Platform, and a Director of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, where he also holds the Vivian Smith Distinguished Chair in Immunology.
Dr. Allison’s research focuses on the mechanisms that govern T cell responses and applying that basic understanding to overcome cancer’s evasion of attack by the immune system. His fundamental discoveries include the T cell antigen receptor used by T cells to recognize and bind to antigens the co-stimulatory molecule CD28 that must signal the T cell to launch an immune response to a bound antigen; and that cytotoxic T-lymphocyte associated protein 4 (CTLA-4) is an immune system inhibitory checkpoint molecule that blocks activated T cells from attacking. Dr. Allison developed an antibody against CTLA-4 that became ipilimumab, the ﬁrst drug ever shown to increase survival for patients with metastatic melanoma. It was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2011. Additional checkpoints and co-stimulatory molecules also have been identiﬁed. Dr. Allison is exploring combinations of immunological therapies and targeted drugs in preclinical studies to more effectively treat a variety of cancers.
Dr. Allison is one of the world’s most renowned scientists. Among many honors, he is a member of both the National Academies of Sciences and Medicine and has received the American Association of Immunologists (AAI) Lifetime Achievement Award, the Lloyd J. Old Award, the Pezcoller Foundation-AACR International Award for Cancer Research, the Novartis Award for Clinical Immunology, the American Cancer Society (ACS) Medal of Honor in Basic Research, the Israeli Institute of Technology Harvey Prize in Human Health, the Breakthrough Prize in Biosciences, the Szent-Györgyi Prize for Progress in Cancer Research, the Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award in 2015, the Wolf Prize in Medicine, and the Balzan Prize. In 2018, he has been awarded the BBVA Foundation Frontiers in Knowledge Award and the King Faisel Prize for Medicine.
His current work seeks to improve immune checkpoint blockade therapies currently used by The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center clinicians and identify new targets to unleash the immune system in order to eradicate cancer.
2018 Outstanding Faculty Award Winners
Basic Scientist of the Year
Ashok Saluja, Ph.D.
Professor and Vice Chair of Research, Department of Surgery | Senior Associate Dean for Research Innovation, Miller School of Medicine | Director, Sylvester Pancreatic Cancer Research Institute | Co-leader, Tumor Biology Program, Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center
Clinical Researcher of the Year
Jaime R. Merchan, M.D., MMsc.
Associate Professor of Medicine, Miller School of Medicine | Director, Phase 1 Clinical Trials Program, Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center
Community-based Researcher of the Year
Natasha Schaefer Solle, Ph.D., R.N.
Research Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, Miller School of Medicine | Assistant Director, Behavioral and Community-based Research Shared Resource (BCSR), Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center
Mentor of the Year – Junior Faculty
Alan Pollack, M.D., Ph.D.
Chair and Professor of Radiation Oncology, Miller School of Medicine | Interim Deputy Director, Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center
Mentor of the Year – Trainees
David Robbins, Ph.D.
Professor of Surgery, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Miller School of Medicine
Teacher of the Year
Barry I. Hudson, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Cell Biology | Co-Director of Clinical and Translational Investigation Master’s of Science Program, Miami Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI), Miller School of Medicine
2018 Zubrod Poster Winners & Categories
Emmalee Adelman – Abstract #1
Research mentor Dr. Maria Figueroa
Annamil Alvarez-Trotta – Abstract #33
Research mentor Dr. Anthony Cappobianco
Alexandra Debose-Scarlett – Abstract #40
Research mentor Dr. Emmanual Thomas
Population –Based Research
Taylor James – Abstract #68
Research mentor Dr. Matthew P. Schlumbrecht
Yu-Ping Yang – Abstract #63
Research mentor Dr. Richard Cote