City of Hope created the Scientific Research Portrait Gallery in 2001 to recognize the institution’s most influential and accomplished scientists. On Dec. 2, 2011, six more researchers were honored with portraits.
More than 200 faculty and staff members, as well as members of the inductees’ families, gathered in Cooper Auditorium to honor Leslie Bernstein, Ph.D., Alexandra Levine, M.D., M.A.C.P., Rama Natarajan, Ph.D., Binghui Shen, Ph.D., Yun Yen, M.D., Ph.D., and Hua Yu, Ph.D.
Leslie Bernstein (Photo by Walter Urie)Bernstein joined City of Hope in 2007 as director of the Division of Cancer Etiology. She has achieved significant advancements in understanding cancer risk factors as well as lifestyle changes that can affect those risks. She is principal investigator of the California Teachers Study, which began in 1995 and follows the health status of nearly 133,500 female teachers and administrators in the California public schools’ retirement system. She recently was awarded a $16.8 million, five-year renewal of the grant. Alexandra Levine (Photo by Walter Urie)Levine, chief medical officer, is internationally renowned as a researcher in lymphoma, Hodgkin disease and AIDS-related malignancies. She worked on an AIDS vaccine with Jonas Salk, M.D., who developed the polio vaccine, and in 1995, President Clinton appointed her to the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS. She has served as a principle investigator on National Institutes of Health grants continuously for the past 30 years and has published more than 300 articles in peer-reviewed journals. She joined City of Hope in 2007 and was elected Master of the American College of Physicians in 2009. Rama Natarajan (Photo by Walter Urie)Natarajan, professor in the Department of Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases Research and National Office Products Industry Professor in Diabetes Research, joined City of Hope in 1990. Her research focuses on cellular and molecular mechanisms affecting diabetes-related vascular disease, and she is the first to link epigenetic mechanisms to these complications. Her work has garnered several awards including an American Heart Association Mentor of Women Award and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s Mary Jane Kugel Award. Binghui Shen (Photo by Walter Urie)Shen is chair of the Department of Radiation Biology. He joined City of Hope in 1996, and his research has focused on enzymes called nucleases. He uncovered fundamental ways that certain nucleases are involved with DNA replication and repair. He and his coworkers were the first to show that mutations in a nuclease called FEN-1 initiate cancer, and his work has opened avenues of research which may lead to new targeted therapies for the disease. Yun Yen (Photo by Walter Urie)Yen, Dr. & Mrs. Allen Y. Chao Chair in Developmental Cancer Therapeutics and chair of the Department of Molecular Pharmacology, joined City of Hope in 1993. He has significantly advanced understanding of factors affecting liver cancer, and his studies of the enzyme ribonucleotide reductase, or RR, have led to the development of a potential new drug targeting RR. The drug candidate will be the first produced in City of Hope’s new Chemical GMP Synthesis Facility for use in phase 1 clinical studies. Hua Yu (Photo by Walter Urie)Yu is the Tim Nesvig Lymphoma Research Fellow, co-director of the Cancer Immunotherapeutics Program and associate chair of the Department of Cancer Immunotherapeutics and Tumor Immunology. A noted expert on the cancer-promoting protein STAT3, she was the first to uncover and define the protein’s effect on the immune system. Her studies have laid the foundation for a new generation of molecular targeted cancer therapy approaches including a potential new drug targeting STAT3 that will be among the first produced in City of Hope’s new Chemical GMP Synthesis Facility.
“We are lucky to have these individuals here at City of Hope,” said Michael A. Friedman, M.D., president, chief executive officer and Irell & Manella Cancer Center Director’s Chair. “Their work not only exemplifies the extraordinary quality of scientific investigation at City of Hope, but more important, it is bringing real-world improvements to patients throughout the world.”