Executive Committee Forges Harper Cancer Agenda

The Harper Cancer Research Institute (HCRI), a partnership between Indiana University School of Medicine-South Bend (IUSM-SB) and the University of Notre Dame (ND) to explore the causes of and cures for cancer, is establishing an ambitious agenda with the formation of an HCRI Executive Committee.

On Monday, April 23, the first annual HCRI Research Day will assemble current and future members of the institute for an afternoon of interaction and dialogue among faculty, post-doctoral candidates and students. Notre Dame and IUSM-SB faculty who wish to be included in the event should contact harpercancer@nd.edu. A poster contest for undergraduate and graduate students and post-doctoral fellows is planned.

In other activities:

  • Conversation has been initiated with the director of the Simon Cancer Research Institute at IUSM in Indianapolis to explore additional basic and clinical research partnerships
  • A program to support research with patient tissue samples is underway with the installation of a tissue bank and the addition of a research nurse, Cindy Nagy, who will facilitate tissue procurement and manage clinical trial protocol.
  • The executive committee is recommending the formation of Tumor Study Groups around Breast, Head & Neck, Ovarian and Colon cancers. Beginning in fall, the groups are expected to engage basic scientists with local pathologists and oncologists to identify research directions.

The executive committee is equally comprised of IUSM-SB and ND representatives and includes:

  • Co-Directors Rudolph M. Navari, M.D., Ph.D. FACP, and M. Sharon Stack, Ph.D.  Stack, science director, is Notre Dame Ann F. Dunne and Elizabeth Riley Science Director and professor of chemistry and biochemistry. Navari, clinical director, is IUSM-SB associate dean and director and a professor of medicine.
  • Tracy Vargo-Gogola, Ph.D., IUSM-SB assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular biology, whose work focuses on breast cancer
  • Amanda Hummon, Ph.D.,  ND assistant professor of chemistry, whose work focuses on colorectal cancer
  • Stewart “Andy” Bullock, Ph.D., MBA, ND managing director of HCRI’s science program, and
  • Gail Mancini, MLA, IUSM-SB director of public affairs and communications.

Initiated in 2011, the institute demonstrates the commitment of both IUSM-SB and ND to confront the complex causes of cancer. Creative collaboration among ND and IUSM-SB faculty and others across the state is at the heart of a palpable will to forge impactful discovery through basic, translational and clinical research.