Hematology-Oncology Fellowship

Scholarship

Research and Scholarship Expectations

    All fellows are expected to actively engage in scholarly activities. These activities can be in basic research, translational research, clinical research, health outcomes research, and/or educational research. Essential to success is providing the tools necessary to foster the fellows’ intellectual development as investigators. These tools are provided through participation in VCUHS Graduate Medical Education Research for Residents and Fellows, which is conducted at the start of the academic year and is mandatory for all first year hematology-oncology fellows. Fellows with a strong interest in research are nurtured through attendance at the Southeastern Research Skills Retreat to which we send two fellows annually. 

    As a sign of our commitment to the scholarly efforts of the fellows, the Department of Internal Medicine has designated funding which is set aside specifically to offset the travel cost for fellows who are presenting their work at regional, national, and international scientific and academic meetings. The division is similarly committed to assisting with costs associated with presenting and publishing scholarly efforts. The commitment to our fellows is evident by the fact that our department chair, Dr. John Nestler, an NIH-funded investigator himself, personally meets with all fellows in advance of presenting at national and international meetings to offer additional mentorship and guidance. At VCU, we honor your education and professional growth as our greatest achievement and are proud to send our residents and fellows as our ambassadors.

Areas of Research Opportunity

    Clinical Research
    The division is involved in clinical trials and oncology-related palliative care. Most cancer-related clinical trials are conducted in collaboration with the Massey Cancer Center, a National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center. Current activities include initial (phase I/II) clinical investigations of new agents, and participation in definitive, multi-institutional studies of new agents or approaches to treatment and prevention. We are members of the Cancer and Leukemia Group B, National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Program, the Community Clinical Oncology Program, North Central Cancer Treatment Group, and other research organizations. A major emphasis is placed on the translation of divisional laboratory research into Phase I and Phase II clinical studies, and the enrollment of patients in therapeutic clinical trials. The division also has ongoing programs in clinical research related to hemostasis and thrombosis, pain and symptom management, health literacy and patient-provider communication.

    Basic Research
    Hematology/oncology laboratories offer strong basic research programs that focus on the molecular level. A major research focus is directed at understanding the role of signal transduction processes in the regulation of apoptosis, or programmed cell death, in cancer cells, with a view toward developing novel clinical approaches to therapy of hematological malignancies and solid tumors. These strategies emphasize the rational combination of targeted agents that interrupt complementary survival signaling and cell cycle regulatory pathways. Numerous multi-institutional Phase I and II trials have emerged from such preclinical studies.

    Health Services Research
    Faculty in the Division of Hematology/Oncology and Palliative Care are nationally recognized for their health services research. Issues addressed include the quality of cancer care, treatment costs, cost-effectiveness, and the delivery of care to rural populations. They work with the American Society of Clinical Oncology, National Quality Forum, and other national organizations to develop practice guidelines and make important contributions in the technological assessment of novel approaches to cancer treatment. Special expertise has developed in the measurement of costs and clinical management of death, dying and patterns of care in medically under-served and indigent patients. A growing research program explores patient-family-healthcare provider communication and consequences.

    Educational Research
    In conjunction with faculty from across the health campus and the department’s Office of Educational Affairs, opportunities exist for fellows interested in pursuing scholarly investigation in graduate medical education.

Examples of Recent Fellow Scholarship

    Erin Alesi, MD

    Abstracts & Presentations

    1. Smith TJ, Alesi ER. Changing the Mindset: Integrating Palliative Care into Cancer Treatment. Webinar, American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. July 2011.

    Publications

    1. Alesi ER, Ford TR, Chen C, Fletcher D, Morel TD, Bobb B, Lyckholm L. Development of CASH Assessment Tool to Address Existential Concerns in Patients with Serious Illness. J Palliat Med. 2014

    2. Krystal GW, Alesi ER, Tatum JL. Early FDG/PET scanning as a pharmacodynamic marker of anti-EGFR antibody activity in colorectal cancer. Mol Cancer Ther. 2012 May 4.

    3. Smith TJ, Temin S, Alesi ER, Abernethy AP, Balboni TA, Basch EM, Ferrell BR, Loscalzo M, Meier DE, Paice JA, Peppercorn JM, Somerfield M, Stovall E, Von Roenn JH. American Society of Clinical Oncology provisional clinical opinion: the integration of palliative care into standard oncology care. J Clin Oncol. 2012 Mar 10;30(8):880-7.

    4. Alesi ER, Fletcher D, Muir C, Beveridge R, Smith TJ. Palliative care and oncology partnerships in real practice. Oncology (Williston Park). 2011 Nov 30;25(13):1287-90, 1292-3.

    5. Alesi ER, Bobb B, Smith TJ. Guiding patients facing decisions about “futile” chemotherapy. J Support Oncol. 2011 Sep-Oct;9(5):184-7.

    Michael Batalo, MD

    Book Chapter

    1. Batalo M, Bose P, Holkova B, Grant S. Targeting Mantel Cell Lymphoma with a Strategy of Combined Proteasome and Histone Deacetylase Inhibition. In: Dou P., ed. Resistance to Proeasome Inhibitors in Cancer. Springer. New York, New York.

    Sarah Gordon, MD

    Abstract & Presentations

    1. Gordon S. Metastic Melanoma Presenting as an Obstructing Right Artrial Tumor. Oral Presentation/Clinical Vignette, Southern Regional Research Meeting. February 2015, New Orleans LA.

    Book Chapter

    1. Gordon S, Matin K. Molecular Pathways in Gastrointestinal Malignancies and Their Impact of Treatment. In: Molecular Oncoogy Testing for Solid Tumors. Springer 2015.

    David Kobulnicky, MD

    Abstracts and Presentations

    1. Kobulnicky D. The Influence of Lymphoid Reconstitution Kinetics on Clinical Outcomes in Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplantation. ABSMT Tandem ASH-ASBMT. February 2017. Orlando Florida.

    Bonny Moore, MD

    Publications

    1. Toor A, Sabo R, Roberts C, Moore B, Salman S, Scalora A, Aziz M, Shubar A, Hall C, Meier J, Thorn R, Song S, Miller K, Rizzo K, Clark W, McCarty, Chung H. Dynamical System Modeling of Immune Reconstruction Followign Allogenic Stem Cell Transplantation Identifies At Risk for Adverse Outcomes. Biology of Blood and Marrow Transplantion J. March 2015

    2. Dinnel J, Moore B, Skiver B, Bose P. Rasnuricase in the Management of Tumor Lysis: An Evidence Based Review of Its Place in Thereapy. Core Evidence J. 2015;10;23-38.

    3. Shipe T, Moore B, Riley R. Glanzmann Thrombasthenia: Clinical and Pathologic Features. ASCP Case Reports. November 2014.

    Jennifer Myers, MD

    Publications

    1. Chen S, Pei YY, Myers J, Wang L, Kramer L, Garnett G, Schwartz D, Su F, Simmons GL, Richey J, DLarsen D, Orlowski R, Yun Dai Y, Grant S. 9.1 Upregulation of BH3-only Proteins by Cdk Inhibitors Sensitizes Human Myeloma Cells to Pan-BH3-mimetics in vitro and in vivo. Cancer Res. 2012.

    Haeseong Park, MD

    Abstracts & Presentations

    1. Park H. Evaluation of Dickkopf-1 (Dkk-1) Expression in Non-small Cell Lung, Esophageal and Gastric Cancer. Poster presentation, Virginia Commonwealth University Resident Research Day. June 2013, Richmond VA.

    2. Park H, Cassel JB, Henderson M, Polkepovic A, Del Fabbro E. Predictors of Survival in Phase 1 Cancer Clinical Trial Participants: A Systematic Review. Poster Presentation Virginia Commonwealth University Resident Research Day. June 2014, Richmond, VA.

    3. Park H, Kanarek N, Wolff A, Lange J, Visvanathan K. Time Interval Diagnosis to Treatment in Invasive Breast cancer Patients. Poster presentation, Virginia Commonwealth University Resident Research Day. June 2014, Richmond, VA.

    4. Park H, Qin R, Smith TJ, Atherton PJ, Barton DL, Sturtz K, Dakhil SR, Anderson DM, Stella PJ,  Puttabasavaiah S, Le-Lindqwister NA, Padula GDA, Loprinzi CL. NCCTG N10C2 (Alliance) – A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study of Magnesium Supplements to Reduce Menopausal Hot Flashes. Poster presentation, Virginia Commonwealth University Resident Research Day. June 2014, Richmond, VA.

    5. Park H, Qin R, Smith TJ, Atherton PJ, Barton DL, Sturtz K, Dakhil SR, Anderson DM, Stella PJ,  Puttabasavaiah S, Le-Lindqwister NA, Padula GDA, Loprinzi CL. NCCTG N10C2 (Alliance) – A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study of Magnesium Supplements to Reduce Menopausal Hot Flashes. 2014 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Meeting. May 2014, Chicago, IL.

    6. Park H, Poklepovic A. A Phase I Study of Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy with Gemcitabine, Sorafenib, Followed by Concurrent Chemoradiation with Gemcitabine, Sorafenib, and Vorinostat in Locally Advanced Pancreatic Cancer. Poster presentation, American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting 2014. April 2014, San Diego, CA.

    7. Park H, Kanarek N, Wolff A, Lange J, Visvanathan K. Time Interval from Diagnosis to Treatment in Invasive Breast Cancer Patients (Abstract FPOI-4). Oral Presentation, Global Breast Cancer Conference 2013. October 2013, Seoul, Korea.

    Publications

    1. Bose P, Park H, Al-Khafaji J, Grant S. Strategies to Circumvent the T315I Gatekeeper Mutation in the Bcr-Abl Tyrosine Kinase. Leukemia Research Reports. 2013;2(1):18–20.

    2. Park H, Shafer D. Disseminated Histoplasmosis in Peripheral Blood Smear. Blood. 2014 Mar 6; 123 (10):1445.

    Shejal Patel, MD

    Abstracts & Presentations

    1. Patel SB, Shaw JE. Celiac Plexus Block in Patients with Non-Pancreatic GI Malignancies: Experience from a Single Institution. American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting. June 2012, Chicago IL. Published in:  J Clin Oncol 30, 2012 (suppl; abstr e19551).

    2. Patel SB, Shaw JE. Celiac Plexus Block in Patients with Non-Pancreatic GI Malignancies: Experience from a Single Institution. Poster presentation, Virginia Commonwealth University Resident Research Day. June 2012, Richmond VA.

    Publications

    1. Smith TJ, Vota S, Patel S, Ford T, Lyckholm L, Bhushan A, Bobb B, Coyne P, Swainey C. Organ donation after cardiac death from withdrawal of life support in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. J Palliat Med. 2012 Jan;15(1):16-9.

    Masey Ross, MD

    Publications

    1. Rahmani M, Aust M, Hawkins E, Ross M, Kmieciak M, Reshko L, Rizzo K, Dumur C, Ferreira-Gonzalez A. Co-Administration of the mTORCI/TORC2 Inhibitor INK128 and the Bcl-2/Ccl-xL Antagoniz ABT-737 Kills Human Myeoid Leukemia Cells Through Mcl-1 Down Regulation and AKT Inactivitation. Haematologica. 2015 Dec;100(12):1553-63. PMID 26452980

    Gary Simmons, MD

    Abstracts & Presentations

    1. Simmons G. MUD Allogenic HSCT for Angioimmunoblastic T Cell Lymphoma Developed Acute Fibrinous Organizing Pneumonia (AFOP) and is the First Survivor After HSCT Successfully Treated with Etanercept Suggesting TNF Alpha in the Pathogenesis in this Sub-type Pulmonary GVHD. Poster Presentation. ASBMT. February 2015, San Diego CA.

    2. Simmons G. Case Report: 52 Year-Old Male 11 Months after MUD for Angioimmunoblastic T Cell Lymphoma Developed Acute Fibrinous Organizing Pneumonitis Successfully Treated with Etanercept Suggesting TNF Alpha in the Pathogenesis in This Sub-Type of Pulmonary GVHD. ASB- BMT. February 2015. San Diego California.

    Award

    1. Arnold P. Gold Foundation Humanism and Excellence in Teach Award. Awarded by the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine Class 2014. July 2013.

    Radhika Thorn, MD

    Abstracts & Presentations

    1. Vachhani P, Thorn R. A Case of Atypical Anemia of Graves Disease. Clinical vignette, American College of Physicians 2013 Virginia Associates' Meeting. January 2013, Richmond, VA