CMRC Children's Memorial Research Center


InTouch Winter 2008 (Volume 4: Issue 4)

Second Annual "Cracking the Code with the Bear" Research Symposium

Following the overwhelming success of the inaugural research symposium held in 2006, the second annual “Cracking the Code with the Bear” symposium was held on November 16, 2007 at the Hotel Intercontinental Chicago. This event was the result of a collaboration between the Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation, Marcelo Bento Soares, PhD, Cancer Biology and Epigenomics Program director at Children's Memorial Research Center, Professor of Pediatrics at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, and Rachelle and Mark Gordon Endowed Professorship, and Stewart Goldman, MD, Medical Director of Neuro-oncology, Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the Feinberg School, and the Gus Foundation Chair of Neuro-oncology at Children’s Memorial. Cancer researchers from throughout the Chicago area were encouraged to attend the symposium.
Invitations went out to leaders in the field of cancer biology and epigenomics research to nominate a postdoctoral fellow or junior faculty member from their institution to present his or her research. The criteria for selecting candidates were seminal contributions to and anticipation of leadership in their field. Ten individuals were selected:
Beth Villavicencio, MD, PhD, Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Fellow, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center.
Aedin Culhane, PhD, Research Associate, Harvard School of Public Health, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
Chrystal Louis, MD, MPH, Instructor, Texas Children’s Cancer Center, Baylor College of Medicine.
Dipak Panigrahy, MD, Instructor in Surgery, Pediatric Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Research Associate, Vascular Biology Program, Boston Children’s Hospital.
Lars Zender, MD, Postdoctoral Fellow, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.
Ghia Euskirchen, PhD, Associate Research Scientist, Yale University.
Danielle Irvine, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.
Alysson Renato-Muotri, PhD, Research Associate, Laboratory of Genetics, The Salk Institute.
Julius Brennecke, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.
Jan Korbel, PhD, EMBO & Marie Curie Fellow, Yale University.
Franklin D. Costantini, PhD, Professor, Department of Genetics and Development, Columbia University, delivered the keynote address. A reception and awards ceremony followed.

To continue to advance promising pediatric cancer research, Bear Necessities awarded a $40,000 research grant to Cold Spring Harbor’s Lars Zender. Nikia Laurie, PhD, the 2006 grantee, moderated the event and expressed her gratitude for the opportunities that the symposium offers to its presenters. The research center wishes to thank the Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation for its full underwriting support of the symposium. For a full list of symposium presentation titles, please visit

AAA 2008 Meeting

Hans-Georg Simon, PhD, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the Feinberg School, and Bernard L. Mirkin Scholar in the Developmental Biology Program at the research center, will be chairing a platform session at the American Association of Anatomists (AAA) meeting at Experimental Biology in San Diego, April 5-9, 2008. The session, entitled “How to make a limb: Developmental paradigms” will feature seven invited up-and-coming researchers to discuss their current projects in a workshop forum. The platform session is unique because of its focus on trainees and junior faculty, and the educational component that such speaking opportunities provide. For more information on the AAA meeting, visit the Web site at

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