The University of Kansas Cancer Center News

Two new cancer researchers bring $3 million in NCI funding to The University of Kansas Cancer Center

Oct 26, 2009

Researchers recruited from The University of Texas Health Science Center

Sharmila Shankar, PhD
KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- The University of Kansas Cancer Center has recruited two researchers that bring with them a total of $3 million in National Cancer Institute (NCI) funding. These research dollars will help achieve the critical requirement of $11 million in total NCI grant funding needed to apply for designation as a Cancer Center.

Sharmila Shankar, PhD and Rakesh Srivastava, PhD, have joined the University of Kansas Medical Center (KUMC) and will play an important role in the Cancer Center's quest for NCI designation. Dr. Shankar will serve as associate professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and Dr. Srivastava will serve as professor of Pharmacology, Toxicology and Therapeutics.

"Our focus has been on recruiting new researchers who have NCI-funded research in order to help us meet the requirement of having a strong funding base before we apply for designation," said Roy A. Jensen, MD, director of The University of Kansas Cancer Center. "Drs. Shankar and Srivastava have an incredible track record of NCI funding with a strong background in cancer prevention and drug development. We are thrilled to have them on our team."

Rakesh Srivastava, PhD
Both come to KUMC from The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler. Dr. Srivastava served as a professor and Dr. Shankar served as assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Medicine. Their research focus is on the molecular mechanisms of cancer cell growth and death and on developing novel drugs that treat and prevent cancers.

Dr. Srivastava did a postdoctoral fellowship at the NCI from 1994 to1996 when he was also awarded a Fogarty International Fellowship by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

In order to apply for designation in September 2011, the Cancer Center must have a strong base of funding from the NCI to demonstrate the amount of cancer-focused research being conducted at its Center.

"Our needs right now fall into a simple equation: we need to recruit world-class researchers who already have NCI funding, and we need state-of-the-art facilities in which to house them," said Dr. Jensen. "Bringing these two recruits on board moves us closer to meeting these needs and fulfilling our goal of achieving NCI designation."

The University of Kansas Cancer Center is transforming cancer research and clinical care by linking our innovative approach to drug discovery, delivery and development to our nationally-accredited patient care program. Our partnership includes cancer research and healthcare professionals associated with The University of Kansas Medical Center and The University of Kansas Hospital in Kansas City, the University of Kansas in Lawrence, the University of Kansas School of Medicine in Wichita, and the members of the Midwest Cancer Alliance Partners Advisory Board and Clinical Trials Network. For more information on The University of Kansas Cancer Center’s research and outreach programs and award-winning patient care offered at the Richard and Annette Bloch Cancer Care Pavilion and The University of Kansas Hospital, please visit or call 1-800-332-6048.

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