A Summit in the Fight Against Cancer
Sponsored by a Survivor
By: Charles McNair, freelance writer, UGA Office of Development and Alumni Relations
From a summit, a person can see a long, long way in all directions. That’s the idea behind the 2023 University of Georgia-Winship Cancer Research Summit, hosted by UGA in Athens this summer. The event brought together top cancer researchers from the UGA Cancer Center and Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University.
“The summit highlights the research strengths of two great cancer programs,” said Eileen Kennedy, Georgia Athletic Association Professor of Pharmacy and director of the UGA Cancer Center. “Having a comprehensive view of research at both programs opens new vistas for collaboration in cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.”
Kennedy’s fellow at Winship, Adam Marcus, deputy director of Winship Cancer Institute, says the summit brings ideas out of labs and into a shared environment that can spark collaboration in completely new ways.
“The spirit of the conference,” Marcus said, “is to put people together in a room who wouldn’t normally have a chance to interact. That drives new ideas and innovation that can someday make cancer a less threatening disease.”
At the summit, almost 100 participants—equally split among UGA and Winship doctoral candidates and post-doctoral researchers—exchanged ideas, heard talks from various cancer investigators, and learned about ongoing work through 40 poster presentations.
Keynote speaker Nicole Lopanik, program manager at the American Cancer Society, outlined research funding programs and opportunities for researchers seeking grants.
The summit also gathered researchers from far-flung campus research hotspots. For example, the UGA Cancer Center, which is virtual, comprises 16 different departments with 35 separate labs spread all over Athens. By involving researchers from a multitude of fields, the center can progress against cancer on many fronts: pharmacological, biochemical, genetic, and beyond. “With our spatial orientation,” Kennedy said, “face-to-face meetings where people can discuss projects and innovations are really valuable.”
To read more about the collaboration, why Richard ’84 and Kim ’89 Stamper funded the summit, and how one CoP pharmacological doctoral candidate, Phillip Dean, engaged with the program, see here.
Pictured from left to right: Nicole Lopanik, the summit’s keynote speaker and research program manager of extramural discovery science at the American Cancer Society; Chrystal Paulos, Winship’s director of translational research for cutaneous malignancies; Adam Marcus; Kim Stamper; Richard Stamper; Kelly M. Smith, dean of the UGA College of Pharmacy; Eileen Kennedy; Gregory B. Lesinski, Winship’s associate director for basic research and shared resources. Photo: Justin Evans