Eileen Dolan PhD, Professor of Medicine, Section of Hematology/Oncology, University of Chicago

eileen-dolan-ph-dDr. M. Eileen Dolan, Professor of Medicine, is Chair of the Committee on Clinical Pharmacology and Pharmacogenomics that includes a board-certified training program for clinical and post-doctoral fellows at the University of Chicago.

Within the University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center, she serves as the Associate Director for Education and is co-leader of the Clinical and Experimental Therapeutics Program. She directs a Graduate Training Program in Breast Cancer Disparities including creating a graduate level course in breast cancer disparities. She recently received the University of Chicago BSD Distinguished Faculty Educator/Mentor award.

Her research is highly translational. She has a broad background in pharmacology, and specific expertise in pharmacogenomics of anticancer agent toxicity using both clinical genome wide association studies and preclinical studies to identify and functionally validate genes/genetic variants associated with adverse drug reactions.

She has recently developed cell-based methods using induced pluripotent stem cells to study chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy. She has over 200 peer-reviewed, original research publications and approximately 60 editorials/book chapters/reviews. Since 2000, she has been continuously funded in the area of pharmacogenomics and previous to that, held continuous funding for her work in DNA repair.

What is your primary field of study, and what motivated you to pursue this?

I have always been interested in finding ways to increase effectiveness and decrease toxicity of chemotherapy.  My primary field of study is pharmacogenomics of anticancer agent toxicity.  I investigate why some individuals are more susceptible for adverse effects of chemotherapy. I identify genetic and non genetic factors that result in some patients living with devastating side effects following treatment with curative therapy for their cancer.  I also
build cell based models to functionally validate signals from clinical genome wide studies of chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy and for drug screening of potential agents to treat neuropathy.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

Working as an academic scientists is a great career because we enjoy independence and can build teams of scientists to answer important questions.  We also wear several hats—educating through teaching or mentoring or building programs, research, administration. As long as we can get funding, we can work on questions that we are most passionate about.  My job is never boring: I am constantly learning from colleagues, students, and our staff.

What is your favourite part of presenting to a live audience?

I enjoy getting feedback and questions because that helps to elevate my science and consider other perspectives.  Presentations are an opportunity to organize results.

What are you looking forward to explaining to the audience?

I am going to discuss how we are using stem cell derived neurons to functionally validate genes identified in genome wide studies of chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy.  I will describe advantages of this model over existing methods and how the model has potential to be used to identify new drugs to prevent/treat this devastating side effect of chemotherapy.

Where is your favorite place in the world and why?

My favorite place in the world is Chicago because the skyline is beautiful, there are great restaurants, strong universities, major sports teams and a lovely lake front. I also have a large family that lives in Chicago. Today it is –10 degrees in Chicago, so today my favorite place is San Diego.

Join Eileen  on January 25th for the webinar “iPSC-derived Cell Models for Oncology Applications”. Register here!

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