The Changing Image of Cancer Research: Cancer Engineering Wins at CABTRAC
As a collaboration between 50 academic institutions nationwide and the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Training Branch, the Cancer Biology Training Consortium (CABTRAC) brings together leaders in cancer research dedicated to training the next generation of cancer researchers, in part through NCI-sponsored training grants. At the CABTRAC Annual Retreat, held in October 2015 in Kiawah, SC, these leaders discussed new cancer-focused training concepts and trends, training program development, and the latest information on national policy impacting trainees in cancer-focused disciplines. A component of the CABTRAC Annual Retreat is a trainee poster session that highlights the efforts of tomorrow’s leaders in cancer research and awards a prize to the best overall poster in the pre-doctoral and post-doctoral categories. This year’s overall best post-doctoral award winner was Dr. Prakash Nallathamby, who presented his research from Dr. Ryan Roeder’s laboratory in the Department of Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering. To earn the Pfizer Young Investigator Poster Award, Dr. Nallathamby presented his work entitled “Modular Assembly of Surface Functionalized Core-Shell Nanoparticles as Novel Image Contrast Agents”. Nallathamby says, “I was quite tickled when they judged my poster to be the best among all of the postdoctoral fellows as I was the only non-cancer biologist there.” Recognizing the implicit value in an inter-disciplinary approach to challenging cancer-specific problems, Nallathamby and Roeder have developed a modular approach to readily customize core-shell nanoparticles to develop multi-modal (e.g., fluorescence, MRI, X-ray) imaging probes that can be targeted to specific cancer types. Nallathamby’s research is supported by a Walther Cancer Foundation Interdisciplinary Interface training fellowship.