The 2024 Innovation Lectures: Outsmarting Cancer


the 2024 innovation lectures

Outsmarting Cancer

On January 17, 2024, scientists pushing the boundaries of cancer research gathered for an evening devoted to the solving challenges of cancer, a diagnosis received by nearly 2 million people a year in the United States. The event marked the first public lecture since the institute joined the University of Florida in 2022, and is expected to be the first of many such lectures.

Protein crystallization by HaJeung Park, Ph.D.. Crystallizing proteins involved in cancer is one of several methods scientists use to understand their structure. This provides functional insights and assists development of potential new medicines.

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The Guest Moderator

Ambassador Nancy G. Brinker

our moderator

Nancy G. Brinker

Founder of Susan G. Komen and the Promise Fund of Florida, recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, U.S. Ambassador and Lifetime Member of the Council on Foreign Relations.



The Panelists

RNA Medicines for Cancer Genes

Matthew D. Disney, Ph.D.

Dr. Disney has invented a search-and-destroy system that eliminates some specific cancer-causing RNA found in a majority of cancer cells. Disney is Institute Professor and chair of the Department of Chemistry at The Wertheim UF Scripps Institute.

hormone driven cancers

Patrick Griffin, Ph.D.

Dr. Griffin studies hormone-sensing proteins that direct the growth and spread of hard-to-treat cancers such as triple-negative breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, and castration-resistant prostate cancer. He is the institute's scientific director and a professor of molecular medicine.

mapping cancer's ecosystem

Michalina Janiszewska, Ph.D.

Dr. Janiszewska employs advanced microscopy and computational biology to learn how genetic changes to the community of cells in and around a tumor may drive resistance to standard cancer treatments. Armed with this knowledge, it may be possible to select more effective treatments, personalized to the individual. Her work currently focuses on glioblastoma, the most aggressive brain cancer. Janiszewska is an assistant professor in the molecular medicine department.

new strategies to stop cancer in its tracks

Courtney Miller, Ph.D.

Dr. Miller studies the internal motors that cancer cells use to grow and travel. Her work has led to development of an experimental medication that disables cancer growth and metastasis in lab studies. Dr. Miller is the institute's director of academic affairs, and a professor of molecular medicine and neuroscience.

Understanding Cancer and the immune system

Matthew Pipkin, Ph.D.

The immune system is an excellent cancer fighter, but there’s still much to learn about it. Dr. Pipkin's lab investigates how T cells become specialized through the gene transcription process. Better understanding is critical to creating therapeutic T cells that kill cancer. Dr. Pipkin is an associate professor of immunology and microbiology at The Wertheim UF Scripps Institute.

Cancer Research Updates From The Wertheim UF Scripps Institute