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The Critical Role of Physician-Scientists in Advancing Cancer Science: Recommendations for Continued Success

Wednesday, May 19, 11:45 am-1:15 pm ET

Organized as a collaborative effort between the Associate Member Council (AMC), Minorities in Cancer Research (MICR) Council, Women in Cancer Research (WICR) Council, and the AACR Science Education and Career Advancement Committee, this interactive panel discussion will explore the critical role of physician-scientists and strategies for their continued success in the face of increasing competitiveness in all domains of their professional service—scientific, clinical, educational, and administrative.


To register, log in to myAACR and select “Applications/Awards” across the top menu bar. After you click on Applications/Awards, find the section titled, “Professional Advancement Sessions at the Annual Meeting”. Click on the application link for “2021 The Critical Role of Physician-Scientists in Advancing Cancer Science: Recommendations for Continued Success” to provide your contact information.

Pre-registration is required and exclusively to AACR Virtual Annual Meeting 2021 registrants.

Please contact us at [email protected] with any questions.


Session Co-Chairs:

Ernest T. Hawk, MD, MPH, UT MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas

Tari A. King, MD, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts

Roger S. Lo, MD, PhD, University of California (UCLA), Los Angeles, California

This session will include an interactive panel discussion that will offer key insights and pointers from a diverse group of successful physician-scientists on career development and funding mechanisms as well as perspectives from a cancer center director.

2021 Participating Senior Scientists

Carlos Arteaga, MD, FAACR

Carlos Arteaga, MD, FAACR

Director and Associate Dean of Oncology Programs

UT Southwestern Harold C. Simmons Cancer Center

Dallas, Texas

Dr. Arteaga is the director of the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. He is also the associate dean of oncology programs. An international leader in the field of breast cancer research, Dr. Arteaga has contributed to the understanding of breast cancer initiation, progression, and metastasis by identifying and characterizing key molecular pathways dysregulated in this disease. He was the first to report the role of IGF-I receptors and transforming growth factor – (TGF-β) in breast cancer and their use as therapeutic targets. He demonstrated that TGF-β, in addition to contributing to breast carcinogenesis, is also capable of driving epithelial to mesenchymal transition, establishment of metastasis, expansion of cancer stem cells, and resistance to chemotherapy. These observations have been significant for the development of molecularly targeted drugs designed to inhibit these signaling pathways. He also reported one of the first studies describing the synergistic effect of chemotherapy with anti-HER2 antibodies, a finding that contributed to the clinical development of trastuzumab for the treatment of patients with HER2-overexpressing breast cancer.

Dr. Arteaga earned his medical degree from the Universidad de Guayaquil in Ecuador. He trained at the Emory University School of Medicine and at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. He served for many years at the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, where he led a successful translational research program, including an NCI/NIH SPORE in breast cancer. He has received many awards from the American Cancer Society, AACR, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation, and the American Society of Clinical Oncology. Dr. Arteaga served as the AACR president in 2014-2015.

Oliver Bogler, PhD

Oliver Bogler, PhD

Director, Center for Cancer Training

National Cancer Institute

Bethesda, Maryland

Oliver studied Natural Sciences at Cambridge University, completed his PhD at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research in London and did post-docs at the Salk Institute, and the Ludwig Institute, San Diego. He was on faculty at Virginia Commonwealth University, Henry Ford Hospital and the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center where he also served as director of basic research for the Brain Tumor Center. His work focused on EGFR signaling and novel platinum compounds in glioblastoma. In 2010, he became MD Anderson’s Vice President for Global Academic Programs and fostered cancer research and training across the globe. In 2011, he was also appointed Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, stewarded MD Anderson’s education mission and oversaw 300 people who supported 1,700 faculty and more than 2,000 trainees. In 2018 he became COO at the ECHO Institute at the University of New Mexico. In 2020 he joined the NCI as Director of the Center for Cancer Training.

Be open to opportunities to engage on important topics and areas, as your career may make interesting turns that allow you to bring value beyond what you initially set out to do.

Keywords: career development, training, education

Albert Koong

Albert Koong

Division Head and Chair, Radiation Oncology

University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

Houston, Texas

After receiving his bachelor’s degree in biological sciences and a doctorate in cancer biology from Stanford University, Dr. Albert Koong earned a medical degree from Northwestern University. Subsequently, he returned to Stanford University where he completed a residency in radiation oncology and served on the faculty in the School of Medicine for 16 years. He was the inaugural recipient of the Sue and Bob McCollum Endowed Chair in Radiation Oncology.

Currently, he serves as the Division Head and Chair of Radiation Oncology at the MD Anderson Cancer Center. He holds the Robert C. Hickey Chair in Clinical Care.

Dr. Koong is an internationally recognized physician-scientist focused on developing cancer therapies that exploit differences between the tumor microenvironment and normal tissues. He leads an active laboratory research program investigating the role of the unfolded response (UPR) on tumor progression and metastasis. His laboratory has identified several classes of small-molecule inhibitors of this pathway as a cancer therapeutic strategy. His clinical research interests are centered on developing advanced radiotherapy techniques to treat gastrointestinal malignancies. He has served as the PI on multiple Phase I and Phase II studies investigating stereotatic ablative radiotherapy (SABR) in the treatment of liver and pancreatic tumors.

Take risks.

Elizabeth Mittendorf, MD, PhD

Elizabeth Mittendorf, MD, PhD

Professor, Department of Surgery

Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center

Boston, Massasschuesstts

Dr. Elizabeth Mittendorf is the Robert and Karen Hale Distinguished Chair in Surgical Oncology and Associate Chair for Research in the Department of Surgery at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She is also Co-Leader of the Breast Program for the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center. Dr. Mittendorf received her medical degree from Case Western Reserve University where she also completed a General Surgery residency. She served in the US military before completing a Surgical Oncology fellowship at the MD Anderson Cancer Center. Dr. Mittendorf also holds a PhD in Immunology from the University of Texas. Dr. Mittendorf focuses her clinical and laboratory efforts on the study of breast cancer with a specific interest in immunotherapy. She has been the principal investigator on several trials investigating a CD8+ T cell eliciting vaccine based on preclinical data generated in her laboratory. More recently she led the phase III IMpassion031 study that showed an increase in the pCR rate when the immunotherapeutic agent Atezolizumab was given in the preoperative setting for triple negative breast cancer patients. Her current laboratory work is investigating the impact of standard and experimental therapies on immunologic aspects of the tumor microenvironment. Dr. Mittendorf has also published extensively on subjects related to breast cancer and surgical management to include incorporation of biologic factors into staging, management of the axilla, and surgery following receipt of neoadjuvant chemotherapy.

Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.

Keywords: breast cancer, tumor immunology, immunotherapy, surgical oncology