NEW ORLEANS – The selection committee of the Alton Ochsner Award Relating Smoking and Disease has announced that Dr. Jennifer R. Grandis is the 27th Annual Award recipient. Dr.Grandis is a professor at the Pittsburgh School of Medicine in the departments of pharmacology and chemical biology and otolaryngology. She holds the University of Pittsburgh Medical College Endowed Chair in Head and Neck Cancer Research and is principal investigator of the SPORE (NIH) in Head and Neck Cancer.
Dr. Grandis earned her bachelor’s degree from Swarthmore College. She graduated magna cum laude from the University Of Pittsburgh School of Medicine where she also received her training in surgery and otolaryngology.
She has been Chair of the NIH Study Section in Tumor Cell Biology and Co-Chair of NIH Workshop and Working Groups on Head and Neck Cancers, the Cancer Genome Atlas, and Molecular Bases of Radiation Resistance of Human Cancers, among others.
Dr. Grandis has dedicated her career to determining the key genetic alterations that characterize head and neck cancers with the ultimate goal of developing effective treatment strategies for more effective prevention and treatment. In doing so, she is widely recognized for pioneering the mechanisms of epidermal growth factor receptor (ECGF) signaling mechanisms and developed her novel antisense gene therapy for her own investigator-initiated NIH trial. Now, a NIH phase II trial is in progress with her FDA-approved cetuximab and EGFR monoclonal antibody making her new approach the first new drug for the treatment of head and neck cancer in nearly half a century.
The Alton Ochsner Award was established in 1986 in the name of Alton Ochsner, MD, FACS - one of the five founders of the Ochsner Clinic in New Orleans. Dr. Ochsner was the first to relate that cigarette smoking had a causal relationship to carcinoma of the lung. The award is presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians to one or more physicians or scientists whose research findings had a major impact on the overall knowledge and medical practice that has linked smoking to disease.
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Ochsner Health System is southeast Louisiana’s largest non-profit, academic, multi-specialty, healthcare delivery system with eight hospitals and over 38 health centers in Louisiana. Ochsner has been named the Consumer Choice for Healthcare in New Orleans for 16 consecutive years and is the only Louisiana hospital nationally recognized by U.S. News and World Report as a “Best Hospital” across eleven specialty categories. Ochsner employs more than 13,000 employees, over 850 physicians in over 90 medical specialties and subspecialties and conducts over 300 clinical research trials annually. Ochsner Health System is proud to be a tobacco-free environment. For more information, please visit ochsner.org and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.