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Cancer and Hematology Center Announces New Endowed Chairs and Professorship
Dr. Susan Blaney, Director of Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Center and Chief of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, is pleased to announce the appointment of six new Texas Children’s Hospital (TCH) Endowed Chairs and one Endowed Professorship.
“I am exceedingly fortunate to be surrounded by so many talented and dedicated physicians and researchers. It is very rewarding to recognize these individuals for their years of devotion to finding a cure for children with cancer,” said Dr. Blaney. “I am also greatly appreciative of the support our Center has received from Texas Children's and from donors committed to joining us in the fight against childhood cancers and blood disorders. The research efforts of our internationally recognized faculty to cure childhood cancer and blood disorders are enhanced and accelerated by this incredible support.”
Susan M. Blaney, M.D.
David G. Poplack, M.D., Chair of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology
“I am extremely honored and grateful to be named the David G. Poplack, M.D., Chair of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology. As a mentee and colleague of Dr. Poplack’s for over three decades, it gives me great pleasure to serve in his named chair,” said Blaney. This endowed chair was named in Dr. Poplack’s honor by generous donors, Hemant and Indrani Goradia.
Blaney joined Texas Children’s in 1995 and has served as the service chief, section head, and director, Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Center since July 1, 2018. She held the role of deputy director of Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Center and executive vice chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine for 10 years prior to her current role. She was previously vice chair of the Children’s Oncology Group (COG), an international clinical trial cooperative group of more than 200 children’s cancer programs across North America that is supported by the National Cancer Institute, as well as chair of the COG phase 1 consortium. She has published more than 200 articles in peer-reviewed journals, has authored numerous book chapters, and is a co-editor of the eighth edition of the leading textbook in pediatric oncology, Pizzo and Poplack’s Pediatric Oncology.
Donald Williams “Will” Parsons, M.D., Ph.D.
Sidney L. and Donald F. Faust Chair of Pediatric Cancer Precision Medicine
Dr. Donald Williams “Will” Parsons has been named the Sidney L. and Donald F. Faust Chair of Pediatric Cancer Precision Medicine. Dr. Parsons is a board-certified pediatric oncologist and the deputy director of Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Center. Research discoveries from his team have provided key insights into cancer genetics and impacted the diagnosis and treatment of both childhood and adult cancer patients. Dr. Parsons has distinguished himself as a leader in the use of “precision oncology” strategies (using the genetics of each patient and their tumor to guide treatment) for children with high-risk and relapsed cancers and currently leads statewide and national clinical trials for these patients. He plays leadership roles in numerous national pediatric cancer organizations including the National Cancer Institute-funded COG and the National Institutes of Health Pediatric Early Phase Clinical Trials Network.
Leonid S. Metelitsa, M.D., Ph.D.
Endowed Chair in Cancer Immunotherapy
Dr. Leonid Metelitsa has been named the Endowed Chair in Cancer Immunotherapy. He is director of the Center for Advanced Innate Cell Therapy, co-director of the Neuroblastoma Program, and an associate director of the Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Center. Dr. Metelitsa’s research focuses on a subset of immune cells known as natural killer T (NKT) cells and their role in fighting cancer. His laboratory was the first to show that NKT cells localize to tumor tissues and that their presence there is associated with favorable outcomes in cancer patients. Pioneering studies from the Metelitsa lab have elucidated the role of NKT cells in tumor immunity and informed the development of NKT cells as a novel platform for cancer immunotherapy. The technologies and protocols for NKT cell isolation, genetic modification, and clinical scale expansion developed by Dr. Metelitsa’s group have made possible groundbreaking first-in-human clinical trials evaluating therapeutic NKT cells in a variety of pediatric and adult cancers.
Carl E. Allen, M.D., Ph.D.
Milton and Allene Nirken Chair in Pediatric Oncology
Dr. Carl Allen has been named the Milton and Allene Nirken Chair in Pediatric Oncology. He is director of the Basic and Translational Research Strategy for the Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Center and serves as co-director of the Histiocytosis and Lymphoma Programs, where he leads a team of over 30 clinicians and scientists dedicated to improving the outcomes of children and adults with histiocytic disorders, lymphoma and lymphoproliferative disorders.
Dr. Allen holds leadership positions in the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Histiocyte Society, the American Society for Hematology and the COG, and is co-editor-in-chief of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology. He is co-founder and co-director of the North American Consortium for Histiocytosis (NACHO). He is also director of research for the Texas Children’s Global Hematology and Oncology Pediatric Excellence (Global HOPE) program, which is developing pediatric hematology and oncology capacity in sub-Saharan Africa.
Michael Scheurer, Ph.D. M.P.H,, F.A.C.E.
Sidney L. and Donald F. Faust Chair of Pediatric Cancer Epidemiology
Dr. Michael Scheurer has been named the Sidney L. and Donald F. Faust Chair of Pediatric Cancer Epidemiology. He is a molecular epidemiologist at Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Center and serves as co-leader of the Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences Program in the Dan L. Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center at Baylor College of Medicine. Dr. Scheurer’s research focuses on understanding the environmental and genetic risk factors (especially viruses and immune function) for cancer development, and characterizing the factors that contribute to poor outcomes for children and adolescents treated for cancer. He is the vice president of the Brain Tumor Epidemiology Consortium and serves on the management group for the Childhood Cancer and Leukemia International Consortium.
Dr. Scheurer collaborates extensively with other researchers and clinicians at Texas Children’s Cancer Center and other pediatric cancer centers across the state of Texas to assess risk factors for the development of rare pediatric tumors. He also works with these centers to elucidate biological and social determinants for the poor prognosis and increased risk of treatment-related toxicities for Latino children in Texas affected by pediatric cancers.
Philip J. Lupo, Ph.D., M.P.H..
Endowed Chair in Molecular Epidemiology
Dr. Philip Lupo has been named the Endowed Chair in Molecular Epidemiology at Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Center. Dr. Lupo is a leading molecular epidemiologist whose research is focused on the origins of childhood cancer and other pediatric conditions. He is the director of the Epidemiology and Population Sciences Program at the Center, chair of the Epidemiology Committee in the COG, and is involved in leadership positions for several national and international organizations, including the Society for Birth Defects Research and Prevention.
Dr. Lupo integrates novel molecular biology methods in population-based epidemiologic studies with the goal of identifying novel precision prevention strategies, which can be used to limit the adverse consequences of cancer and other pediatric conditions.
ZoAnn E. Dreyer, M.D.
Sidney L. and Donald F. Faust Professor in Pediatric Cancer Survivorship
Dr. ZoAnn Dreyer has been named the Sidney L. and Donald F. Faust Professor in Pediatric Cancer Survivorship. Dreyer has been the clinical director of the Long-Term Survivor Program since its inception in 1988 and is nationally recognized for her work in survivorship. She was acknowledged this year during Women’s History Month by Northwestern Mutual as one of four female heroes in the fight against childhood cancer. Under Dr. Dreyer’s leadership, the Texas Children’s Cancer Center Survivorship Program was the recipient of the Inaugural Survivorship Champion’s Prize from the Children’s Cancer Cause, in recognition of the Program’s innovate work to provide comprehensive, integrated care for childhood cancer survivors. The survivorship program follows more than 2,000 childhood cancer survivors, long into their adult life, to ensure that they receive the best possible care and prospective monitoring for potential delayed effects of their prior cancer therapy.