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Impact of the Obesity Epidemic on Cancer

Wednesday, September 30, 2020
8:30 am - 11:30 am CDT
via Zoom videoconference

VIRTUAL VICC Annual Scientific Retreat

The Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center 21st Annual Scientific Retreat was held virtually on September 30, 2020 with some of the nation's top experts speaking about the "Impact of the Obesity Epidemic on Cancer." This retreat has a long tradition of providing opportunities for collaborative interactions and discussions between investigators, community partners, students and trainees, and although we will not be gathering in-person this year, we are looking forward to seeing everyone online and continuing this tradition.

The retreat began at 8:30 am and included mission moments, a virtual poster session, and presentations from invited experts. The retreat was FREE and open to the public, though registration is required to receive virtual access.

Featured Speakers:

Shari Barkin, MD, MSHS

(Vanderbilt University Medical Center)

is the William K. Warren Endowed Professor in the Department of Pediatrics and the Chief of Academic General Pediatrics at the Monroe Carrell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. She also serves as the Executive Director for the Nashville Collaborative, an academic-community partnership to develop and test two-generation obesity prevention and treatment solutions working with the Department of Parks and Recreation. Dr. Barkin’s research focus is on clinical interventions to reduce pediatric obesity during critical windows of childhood development in underserved populations.

Stephen Hursting, PhD, MPH

(UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center)

is the AICR/WICR Distinguished Professor in the Department of Nutrition at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill. He is also Professor at the UNC Nutrition Research Institute and the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Hursting’s research interests center on precision nutrition as applied to cancer prevention, particularly the molecular and metabolic mechanisms underlying obesity-cancer associations, and the interplay between obesity, metabolism, host genetics and cancer. His lab is establishing that targeting growth factor signaling pathways, inflammation-associated immunosuppression, and the gut microbiome can reverse the procancer effects of obesity.

Bette J. Caan, DrPH

(Kaiser Permanente Division of Research)

is a senior research scientist and a nutritional epidemiologist at the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research. Dr. Caan is the former Director of the Early Stage Investigator Training Program, and she directs a research program focused on body composition and energy balance risk factors. She has expertise in the assessment of diet and body composition and the conduct of dietary intervention trials, and has recently published several papers on the obesity paradox in cancer, advocating that body mass index (BMI) misclassifies patients with regard to adiposity, and is also in part responsible for the identification of the obesity paradox.

William Murphy, PhD

(UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center)

is a Distinguished Professor and Vice Chair of Research in the Departments of Dermatology and Internal Medicine (Division of Hematology/Oncology) at UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Murphy’s laboratory studies various aspects within cancer immunology and immunotherapy, including immune responses to pathogens. Additionally, his research also focuses on methods to make preclinical modeling more reflective of the clinical scenario by incorporating human modifying factors such as obesity, aging, and prior immune exposures. His laboratory uses multiple models (including viral) and species (ranging from mouse, feline, canine, nonhuman primate and clinical sample) to integrate/link immune signatures and responses to pathogens, immunotherapies, or immune challenges.

Virtual Poster Session

Please see below for a list of all poster presentations that were submitted for the 21st Annual VICC Scientific Retreat. The three winning poster presentations were:

  1. Chi Yan, PhD – "Rigosertib turns up the heat on melanoma cells to enhance response to immune checkpoint inhibitors"
  2. Portia L. Thomas – "Multiplex immunohistochemistry reveals a lymphocytic immune signature associated with longer overall survival in small cell lung cancer patients"
  3. Susu Zhang – "PAX3-FOXO1 contributes to aRMS tumorgenesis through transcriptional activation of its targets to inhibit myogenic differentiation"

To provide feedback on any of the posters listed below, please visit this REDCap link:


Poster Number Title Presenter
Poster 1 Investigating the clinical and genetic risk of calcium and vitamin D on cancer development Ky’Era Actkins
Poster 2 Tumor associated macrophage heterogeneity contributes to improved anti-PD1 efficacy in obese MC38 tumor bearing mice Jackie Bader
Poster 3 The role of the calcium-sensing receptor (CaSR) polymorphisms in cancer metastasis Heather Beasley
Poster 4 Population dynamics modeling and Bayesian model selection reveal behaviors governing small cell lung cancer tumor composition Samantha Beik
Poster 5 SMARCA5 controls gene expression in AML1-ETO-expressing cells Monica Bomber
Poster 6 Effects of screenings in reducing colorectal cancer incidence and mortality differ by polygenic risk scores Jungyoon Choi
Poster 7 High-fat diet induced mitochondrial dysfunction links intestinal dysbiosis and colorectal cancer Nora Foegeding
Poster 8 Targeted delivery of IκBα siRNA via mannosylated nanoparticles to repolarize TAMs and induce anti-tumor immunity Evan Glass
Poster 9 xCT expression alters the epigenome and induces genomic instability Dalton Hill
Poster 10 Incorporating both genetic and tobacco smoking data to identify high-risk smokers for lung cancer screening Guochong Jia
Poster 11 Biomarker informed management of indeterminate pulmonary nodules with a combined clinical, blood and imaging-based biomarker strategy Michael Kammer
Poster 12 Determining the roles of wild type and mutant FOXO1 in Diffuse Large B-cell Lymphoma (DLBCL) Hillary Layden
Poster 13 Dietary fatty acids and colorectal cancer risk in men: A report from the Shanghai men’s health study and a meta-analysis Sang Nguyen
Poster 14 Effect of manual correction of an automated tumour segmentation algorithm on the prediction of lung adenocarcinoma prognosis Khushbu Patel
Poster 15 Deep targeted and exome sequencing reveals high allelic frequencies of tumor mutations in the high risk airway epithelium S.M. Jamshedur Rahman
Poster 16 Deconvoluting glutamine and glucose uptake in the cellularly diverse tumor microenvironment Bradley Reinfeld
Poster 17 Translation of a blood-based biomarker strategy for the early detection of lung cancer to a CLIA laboratory Dianna Rowe
Poster 18 Single cell proteomic analysis of lung adenocarcinoma identifies high HLA-DR expression to be associated with indolent tumor behavior Maria-Fernanda Senosain
Poster 19 Functional genomic analyses of 21Q22.3 locus identify potential functional variants and candidate gene YBEY for breast cancer risk Chris Shidal
Poster 20 Clinical correlates and multiplatform molecular analysis of response to anti-PD-1/PD-L1 in renal cell carcinoma (RCC) Eileen Shiuan
Poster 21 Effects of KDM5 inhibitor on the growth of early stage and advanced human prostate cancer cells Tunde Smith
Poster 22 (WINNER) Multiplex immunohistochemistry reveals a lymphocytic immune signature associated with longer overall survival in small cell lung cancer patients Portia Thomas
Poster 23 Extracellular matrix segmentation combined with cell classification as a novel method for detailed tumor tissue mapping Georgii Vasiukov
Poster 24 Evaluating the role of B7-H4 as a suppressor of tumor infiltrating lymphocytes and a target for immunotherapy in breast cancer Elizabeth Wescott
Poster 25 (WINNER) Rigosertib turns up the heat on melanoma cells to enhance response to immune checkpoint inhibitors Chi Yan
Poster 26 Pre-diagnostic physical activity and lung cancer survival: A pooled analysis of 11 cohort studies Jae Jeong Yang
Poster 27 (WINNER) PAX3-FOXO1 contributes to aRMS tumorgenesis through transcriptional activation of its targets to inhibit myogenic differentiation Susu Zhang
Poster 28 Identify, characterize and develop strategies to combat the drug-tolerant persister cells (DTPCs) before development of acquired resistance in EGFR-mutant NSCLC Yunkai Zhang