IU Simon Cancer Center Update - August
From the desk of Harikrishna Nakshatri, Ph.D.
It is a straight drive on I-69 for me to attend the Classic and Tickled Pink, not so with my journey to the Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer Research Laboratories. I grew up in a small village in southern India, one of four children in a farming family. I could not afford to go to medical school. Instead, I attended veterinary school on a scholarship and later tended to dairy cows. But my passion for medicine remained. Eventually, I secured a fellowship to graduate school in Canada and earned my master’s and doctoral degrees in molecular biology. My post doctorate research in France caught the attention of George Sledge. He recruited me to Indiana University in 1996 as the first laboratory scientist focused exclusively on breast cancer. Our relationship with Vera Bradley has had a significant impact on me. My wardrobe includes quite a bit of pink, and I have even learned to dance (“I Will Survive” for this year’s Classic). My two daughters still giggle when they think of me practicing. With every visit to Fort Wayne, I see the dedication in the faces of each of your volunteers and return to the Vera Bradley Laboratories more determined to make progress against this disease. For you, I will always be grateful.
Around the Vera Bradley Labs
A talented team of researchers is hard at work recruiting the Vera Bradley Chair in Oncology. They include: Oncologists Kathy Miller, Bryan Schneider, and George Sledge; Biochemists Mark Kelley and Lawrence Quilliam; Pathologist Sunil Badve; Surgeon and Chemist Susan Clare; Geneticist Tatiana Foroud; Endocrinologist Theresa Guise; Biostatistician Lang Li; and, Molecular Biologist Harikrishna Nakshatri.
Bryan Schneider, M.D., has discovered a biomarker that predicts patients at high risk for neuropathy caused by chemotherapies called taxanes. His goal is for women to avoid this nerve damage in the future. From the Vera Bradley Laboratories, he directed a team of researchers from Indian University, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Massachusetts General Hospital, and the Research Advocacy Network.