Fellowship in Ovarian Cancer Research

The Jacquie Liggett Fellowship for research is awarded to a qualified MD or PhD conducting research in the field of ovarian cancer. The Fellow receives a stipend of $50,000 a year for two years, and an additional third year can be approved depending on the quality and accomplishments of the research. Past award recipients have been researchers (experts in ovarian cancer) from the Moffitt Cancer Center at the University of South Florida in Tampa.


 

Juan Cubillos-Ruiz, Ph.D.

2017-2018 Fellow

  • Assistant Professor, Sandra and Edward Meyer Cancer Center, Weill Cornell Medicine, New York
  • Postdoctoral Training, Harvard University and Weill Cornell Medicine
  • Ph.D., Dartmouth Medical School

Harnessing the intrinsic ability of our immune system to eliminate malignant cells represents the most promising anti-cancer strategy since the development of chemotherapy. Immunotherapy is shifting the face of cancer treatment, but adverse microenvironmental conditions within ovarian tumors inhibit the protective activity of immune cells and thus represent an impediment to the success of this approach. New and more effective strategies are urgently needed in the clinic to re-arm the immune system against ovarian cancer.  We have discovered that immune cells in ovarian cancer are “stressed out” due to adverse factors and conditions that these tumors can produce. Our project’s central hypothesis is that stressed out immune cells inside the ovarian tumor are unable to execute their protective functions. To prove this, we will determine how ovarian cancer induces cellular stress in the immune system, and test whether disabling “stress sensors” in immune cells could be used as a novel immunotherapeutic approach for ovarian cancer.


Tilley Jenkins Vogel, M.D.

2014-2016 Fellow

  • Fellowship in Gynecologic Oncology, Univeristy of California, Los Angeles/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
  • Felix Rutledge Fellowship, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
  • Resident in Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington Medical Center
  • M.D., University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill

This project aims to study a very important area of ovarian cancer research- the origins of ovarian cancer. Recent research supports the fallopian tube (and not the ovary) as the site of origin of serous ovarian cancer.  New stem cell science has enabled never before modeling of many tissues and even organs. We will use a novel cell system with the goal of understanding the driver and causes of cancer. We are working to establish a model of fallopian tube epithelium using induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC). We hope that with a better understanding of the steps leading to cancer development, we may be able to identify a precursor lesion or early disease marker such that we can diagnose cancer earlier, initiate appropriate treatment and improve patient survival. 


 

Douglas C. Marchion, Ph.D.

2008-2010 Third Fellow

  • Research Scientist, Moffitt Cancer Center, University of South Florida, Tampa
  • Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, Moffitt Cancer Center
  • Ph.D., University of Montana
The third fellow selected, Dr. Marchion has considerable experience in translational research in women’s oncology. With the support of the Liggett Fellowship in Ovarian Cancer Research, Dr. Marchion conducted research whether ovarian cancer is unifocal or multifocal in origin.  His three year study determined that the cancer has unifocal origin. 

Robert Wenham, M.D., MSc

2006-2007 Second Fellow

  • Assistant Professor, Moffitt Cancer Center, University of South Florida, Tampa
  • Fellowship in Gynecologic Oncology, Duke University
  • Resident in Obstetrics and Gynecology, Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School
  • M.D., MSc, University of Texas Southwestern Medical School
The second fellow selected, Dr. Wenham began his fellowship in July of 2006. He investigated novel therapeutics and drug combinations that could overcome chemotherapy resistance. Dr. Wenham is a co-investigator of a clinical trial to apply what they have learned in the labatory to treat patients with advanced ovarian cancer.

Johnathan M. Lancaster, M.D., Ph.D.

2003-2005 First Fellow

  • Associate Professor, Moffitt Cancer Center, University of South Florida, Tampa
  • Division Chief, Gynecologic Surgical Oncology
  • Medical Director, Lifetime Cancer Screening & Prevention Center
  • Fellowship in Gynecologic Oncology, Duke University
  • Resident in Obstetric & Gynecology, Cambridge University, U.K.
  • M.D. University of Wales, U.K.
  • Ph.D. University of Wales, U.K.

Awarded the first Jacquie Liggett Fellowship in Ovarian Cancer Research beginning in July 2003. Dr. Lancaster investigated the molecular genetic causes of ovarian cancer development, in its progression and response to therapy. The purpose of this research is to enable physicians to direct more specific chemotherapeutic interventions. 

 

Jacquie Liggett Fellowship Research Grants

Jeremy W. Chambers, Ph.D.

2015-2016 Fellow

  • Assistant Professor, Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine, Florida International University
  • Senior Postdoctoral Associate, The Scripps Resesarch Institute
  • Ph.D., Clemson University

The aim of this research is to determine personalized chemotherapeutic strategies to prevent unnecessary exposure to toxic drugs and improve treatment results for ovarian cancer. New chemicals are needed to obtain this result. Strategies that identify the extent of mitochondrial priming can be used to predict chemotherapeutic success, while molecules that prime mitochondria for cell death may improve current treatments and decrease recurrence. We hypothesize that elevated levels of a protein called Sab on the mitochondrial surfaces prime mitochondria for death. We propose that Sab levels within ovarian tumors represent a predictive index for chemotherapeutic sensitivity; thus chemicals that increase Sab concentration can be used to improve chemotherapy responses even chemoresistant ovarian cancers. Our research will assess the relationship between Sab levels and chemosensitivity in a panel of ovarian cancer cell lines. This research will attempt to produce a predictive assay that will determine effective treatments options for individual patients and discover new chemicals that will improve existing treatments and prevent the recurrence of ovarian cancer.


Jacquie Liggett Fellowship in Clinical Training

The Jacquie Liggett Fellowship in Clinical Training is awarded to a gynecologic oncologist in training in one of the approved programs in the United States with priority given to Florida. The award will be given to the fellow who will spend his/her research year investigating ovarian cancer conducting clinical, basic or translation research. The fellowship must have the approval of the Board of Gynecologic Oncology. The research should be continued into the second year or longer. Twice a year a written report as to the progress of the research will be submitted to H.O.W. The award will be for $50,000 per year for two years. An additional third year may can be approved. If the Fellow presents at a recognized society, H.O.W. will contribute $2,000 toward the expenses in addition.

 

Nadim Bou Zgheib, M.D.

2011-2012 Fourth Fellow

  • H.O.W. Fellowship, Moffitt Cancer Center, University of South Florida, Tampa
  • Resident in Obstetrics and Gynecology, St. Lukes Hospital and Health Network, Bethlehem, PA; American University of Beirut; Lebanon, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Institute, New York, NY
  • Board Member of the Up the Volume Foundation
  • M.D., Lebanese University

Dr. Nadim Zgheib was selected for clinical training in the division of gynecologic oncology at the University of South Florida Medical School under the direction of Dr. Mitchel Hoffman. The first year of this three year fellowship is spent in ovarian cancer research under the direction of Johnathan Lancaster of the Moffitt Cancer Center.  He will study genetic pathways that cause ovarian cancer cells to stop responding to chemotherapy. If researchers can understand the genetic changes that cause cancers to become chemo-resistant, they may be able to develop drugs to reverse the process and prolong survival. The last two years are devoted to clinical training.

 

 

Jennifer McGrath
Executive Director
Corporate Partner
Corporate Partner