Abraham, Gibson named distinguished professors

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Cancer specialist Jame Abraham, M.D., and scientist Laura Gibson, Ph.D., have been named distinguished professors at West Virginia University.

Dr. Abraham, chief of Hematology/Oncology at WVU and medical director of the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center, was named the first Bonnie Wells Wilson Eminent Scholar and Distinguished Professor in Breast Cancer Research.

The professorship was made possible by a $5 million gift to the Cancer Center from Jo and Ben Statler in 2007.  The gift was part of an overall gift of $25 million from the Statlers to WVU.

Abraham, who leads WVU’s Comprehensive Breast Cancer Program, is principal investigator for more than 10 clinical trials. His research is widely published in leading cancer journals, and he also has edited the Bethesda Handbook of Clinical Oncology, one of the best selling handbooks in oncology. 

Before joining the Cancer Center in 2001, Abraham was a senior clinical fellow specializing in developmental therapeutics at the National Cancer Institute.

Gibson, associate center director for translational research, was named the first Alexander B. Osborn Distinguished Professor in Hematological Malignancies Research.

J. Michael Ruppert, M.D., Ph.D., Jame Abraham, M.D., Laura Gibson, Ph.D., and Scot Remick, M.D., director of the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center. 

The Osborn professorship was made possible by a donation from the Alexander Bland Osborn Trust and a West Virginia Research Trust Fund state match to create a $1.57 million investment in the hematological malignancies program as well as the professorship. Alexander Bland Osborn of Clarksburg created a trust in 1993, designating the Cancer Center one of the beneficiaries.  The Osborn Trust will also support Gibson’s lab and equipment needs plus fellowships.

The National Cancer Institute recently awarded Gibson a five-year, $1.47 million grant to study stem cells to learn better ways to treat acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), the most common leukemia in children. 

Gibson’s lab studies ways to improve treatment strategies for childhood leukemia.  Her research focuses on methods that make leukemic cells more sensitive to chemotherapy and that minimize the harmful effects of aggressive therapy.

 “We are thrilled to have received these gifts that will enable two of our top-flight researchers to build on the important contributions we are making to cancer research nationally and internationally,” said Scot Remick, M.D., director of the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center at WVU.

Announcement of the two professorships concluded a weeklong celebration in April of the Cancer Center’s expansion.

Earlier this month, J. Michael Ruppert, M.D., Ph.D., was installed as the first Jo and Ben Statler Eminent Scholar and Chair in Breast Cancer Research.

For information on the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center see http://www.hsc.wvu.edu/mbrcc/.





For more information:
Andrea Brunais, HSC News Service, 304-293-7087
AB/ss: 4-24-09

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