Slate of cancer experts set for Distinguished Lecture Series

The lineup for the University of Illinois Cancer Center’s Distinguished Lecture Series has been set, and it’s full of “heavy hitters.”

Douglas Lowy, MD photo
Douglas Lowy, MD

Douglas Lowy, MD, acting director of the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and deputy director of NCI since 2010, will kick-off the series on Monday, July 15, as he will present “Preventing Cervical Cancer and Other HPV-associated Cancers by Vaccination and Screening.” The presentation will be held from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. in the Moss Auditorium, College of Medicine Research Building, 909 S. Wolcott Ave.

A cancer researcher for more than 40 years, Lowy received the National Medal of Technology and Innovation from President Barack Obama in 2014 for his research that led to the development of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. As chief of the Laboratory of Cellular Oncology in NCI’s Center for Cancer Research, Lowy’s research includes the biology of papillomaviruses and the regulation of normal and neoplastic growth. His laboratory, in close collaboration with John T. Schiller, PhD, was involved in the initial development, characterization and clinical testing of the preventive virus-like particle-based HPV vaccines that are now used in the three U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved HPV vaccines.

Lowy is a member of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), as well as the NAS’ Institute of Medicine. Lowy and Schiller have received numerous honors for their pioneering work. In addition to the National Medal, they have been honored with the Federal Employee of the Year Award in 2007 from the Partnership for Public Service, the 2011 Albert B. Sabin Gold Medal Award, and the 2017 Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award.

Lowy received his medical degree from New York University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine at Stanford University, and dermatology at Yale University.

Otis Brawley, MD photo
Otis Brawley, MD

Otis Brawley, MD, an authority on cancer screening and prevention, will be the featured presenter on Wednesday, August 28. Brawley is the Bloomberg Distinguished Professor at Johns Hopkins University and formerly served as chief medical and scientific officer for the American Cancer Society and director of the Georgia Cancer Center at Atlanta’s Grady Memorial Hospital.



The 3rd Annual Tapas Das Gupta Symposium is scheduled for Wednesday, October 16, featuring Monica Bertagnolli, MD, FACP, FASCO, president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology and professor of surgery, Harvard Medical School. Bertagnolli also serves as chief of the division of surgical oncology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and is a member of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

The theme of this year’s symposium is “Immuno-oncology: Opportunities to Improve Cancer Care for All Patients.”

Along with Bertagnolli, speakers include Shelley Hwang, MD, MPH, Mary and Deryl Hart Professor of Surgery, Duke School of Medicine; vice chair of research; chief, section of breast surgery; professor of surgery; and professor of radiology. As one of the world’s most foremost experts in early-stage breast cancers, Hwang was named one of TIME’s 100 most influential people for 2016 as a pioneer in her field.

Nita Ahuja, MD, MBA, William H. Carmalt Professor of Surgery, Yale School of Medicine; chair, department of surgery; and chief of surgery, Yale New Haven Hospital, is also scheduled to speak at the conference, named after Tapas Das Gupta, MD, PhD, DSC, professor emeritus of surgical oncology at the University of Illinois College of Medicine.

Monica Bertagnolli, MD, FACP, FASCO
Shelley Hwang, MD, MPH photo
Shelley Hwang, MD, MPH
Nita Ahuja, MD, MBA photo
Nita Ahuja, MD, MBA
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