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Leading cancer experts to deliver Carol M. Baldwin Breast Cancer lectures

A breast surgical oncologist with an NCI-designated cancer center and leading scientist who has pioneered the field of tumor microenvironment will deliver the Endowed Carol M. Baldwin Breast Cancer Lectures in October and November at Upstate Medical University. The lectures are free and open to the public and will be of particular interest to scientists, physician-scientists, clinical investigators and breast cancer care providers.

Richard J. Bleicher, MD, FACS, will deliver the annual Carol M. Baldwin Cancer Lecture at the Department of Surgery Grand Rounds Wednesday, Oct. 16 at 8 a.m. in 2231 Weiskotten Hall.

Minna M. Bissell, PhD, will deliver the Carol M. Baldwin Breast Cancer Research Lecture Wednesday, Nov. 6 at 4 p.m. in 2231 Weiskotten Hall.

“We are so excited to welcome Dr. Bleicher and Dr. Bissell as this year’s Carol Baldwin Lectureship honorees. Both have made such significant contributions to the field of breast cancer research. We are very much looking forward to their talks and the discussions they will generate,” said Ranjna Sharma, MD, FACS, medical director of Upstate’s Breast Cancer Program.

The Carol M. Baldwin Breast Cancer Research Fund Inc. sponsors two annual endowed lectureships focused on breast cancer developments. In addition, it annually supports five breast cancer research studies at Upstate with $250,000 in funding through its allocations program. Since 2002, the fund has awarded Upstate researchers more than $3 million to further their studies into the cause of breast cancer. The Baldwin family dedicates their research grants and the endowed lectures in memory of women who have been affected by the disease.

“The Baldwin Fund generously supports education and scientific inquiry, both of which are vital to further our understanding of breast cancer,” Sharma said.  “We are very fortunate in Central New York to have such support on an annual basis.”

Bleicher will present “Axillary Management in 2019: If You’re Not Confused, You’re Probably Not Paying Attention” on Oct. 16. His talk will address current standards in axillary management for breast cancer; common questions about axillary management and offer a review of controversies in axillary management for breast cancer. The lecture honors Buffy Halbritter-Eels.

Bleicher is an associate professor in the Department of Surgical Oncology at the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, Penn. He is also the program director for the institution’s Society of Surgical Oncology-accredited Breast Fellowship Program, and the leader of the center’s Breast Service Line. His fellowship training was in surgical oncology at the John Wayne Cancer Institute, and his clinical practice is entirely confined to patients with breast disease.

He serves on committee, as a site surveyor for and on the Board of Directors of the American College of Surgeons’ National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC). He is the current chair of the Society of Surgical Oncology’s Technology and Communications Committee, and serves as a member of the Breast Steering Committee of the RTOG. Bleicher’s areas of clinical research in breast cancer have included breast imaging, decision making, evaluation-associated delays and health services research. Bleicher earned his medical degree from the Temple University School of Medicine.

Bleicher’s research has been published in numerous journals, including the Journal of the American College of Surgeons, JAMA Oncology and most recently the Annuals of Surgical Oncology for “Perioperative Delays in the Treatment of DCIS and the Associated Incident of Invasive Breast Cancer.”

Bissell will speak on “Why We Don’t Get More Cancer: The critical role of extracellular matrix and microenvironment in malignancy and dormancy” Nov. 6. The lecture honors Stacy Daniele Huvane and Bernadette Salvatore.

Bissell isDistinguished Senior Scientist, (the highest rank bestowed at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), serves as senior advisor to the laboratory Director on Biology. She is on the faculty four graduate groups at the University of California, Berkeley: Comparative Biochemistry, Endocrinology, Molecular Toxicology, and Bioengineering. She has challenged several established paradigms, and pioneered the field of tumor microenvironment. Using mammary gland and breast cancer, her body of work has provided the foundation for the current recognition of the pivotal role that extracellular matrix (ECM) signaling plays in regulation of gene expression in both normal and malignant cells. Her laboratory pioneered the use of 3D organoids and techniques that allowed her to prove her signature phrase that after conception, “phenotype is dominant over genotype.”

Bissell earned her doctorate in microbiology and molecular genetics from Harvard Medical School. She was the founding director of the Cell and Molecular Biology Division and later the associate laboratory director for life sciences at Berkeley Lab, where she recruited scientists and developed a strong program in cell and molecular biology and breast cancer.

Bissell has published more than 400 publications and is one of the most sought-after speakers in the field. She has received numerous honors and awards, including  the U.S. Department of Energy’s E.O. Lawrence Award, Susan G. Komen Foundation’s Brinker Award and the American Cancer Society’s Medal of Honor.

To recognize Bissell’s work as a mentor, the University of Porto, Portugal, established the Minna J. Bissell Award, which is given every three years to a person whose work has dramatically changed a field of science.

Bissell is a fellow of numerous scientific academies, including the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Medicine and American Philosophical Society.

Caption: Richard Bleicher, MD, and Minna Bissell, PhD, will deliver the Carol M. Baldwin Endowed Lectures this fall.

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