Mayo Clinic Research Committee announces 2020 Distinguished Mayo Clinic Investigator Awards
The Mayo Clinic Research Committee announces the 2020 recipients of the Distinguished Mayo Clinic Investigator Award recipients: Evanthia Galanis, M.D. (I ’94, HEMO ’98), Division of Medical Oncology and Department of Molecular Medicine; and Cynthia McCollough, Ph.D. (RD ’91), Department of Radiology.
The Distinguished Mayo Clinic Investigator Award is presented to individuals whose research career demonstrates evidence of great distinction, high distinguished scholarship, creative achievement, and excellence in education and administrative responsibilities.
Evanthia Galanis, M.D.
Evanthia Galanis, M.D., is the Sandra J. Schulze Professor of Novel Therapeutics, professor of oncology, and an internationally recognized expert in the fields of oncolytic virotherapy and brain tumor research.
At Mayo Clinic, Dr. Galanis has served as chair of the Department of Molecular Medicine from 2009 to 2019 and leader of the Gene and Virus Therapy Program of the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center from 2012 to 2020. In 2019, she was named executive dean for Development. Dr. Galanis is a member of the Mayo Clinic Research Committee, Medical-Industry Relations Committee, Named Professorship Committee, International Executive Operations Team and Mayo Clinic Proceedings Business Advisory Board. She also has served as the Industry Partnership arm leader in the Mayo Extramural Research Partnership Executive Office.
Nationally, Dr. Galanis is chair of the Neuro-Oncology Committee of the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology, co-chair of the National Cancer Institute’s Glioblastoma working group and the U.S. lead for Rare Brain Tumors as part of the International Rare Cancer Initiative. She has received numerous awards and honors, and in 2011 was elected a member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation. Dr. Galanis actively serves in study sections for the NIH, Department of Defense and the European Commission.
The focus of Dr. Galanis’ laboratory is to develop and optimize novel virotherapy approaches for cancer treatment. A significant impetus for this research is the translation of laboratory advances into clinical trials of novel therapeutics.
Dr. Galanis has led multiple clinical trials of virotherapy for different solid tumors. She spearheaded the clinical translation of measles derivatives and their first human testing in patients with ovarian cancer and brain tumors, as well as first human use of live cell carriers for oncolytic virus delivery. She also has led multiple national trials of targeted and anti-angiogenesis agents to treat glioblastoma.
“Dr. Galanis exudes passion for science in the support of patient care,” said Robert Diasio, M.D. (MPET ’06), director emeritus of the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, in a statement to the selection committee. “Her commitment to academic rigor is unsurpassed. Her energy and work ethic invigorate the multiple institutional and extramural venues in which she works and leads. These qualities inspire those around her to emulate her commitment and effectively multiply the impact of her own efforts. She is truly an institutional role model.”
Cynthia McCollough, Ph.D.
Cynthia McCollough, Ph.D., is the Brooks-Hollern Professor of Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering. Dr. McCollough is a renowned expert in imaging technology who has led significant advancements in the use of computed tomography (CT) to understand, treat and prevent disease.
At Mayo Clinic, she is founding director of the CT Clinical Innovation Center and the X-ray Imaging Core. She has served on multiple institutional and departmental committees, including the Research Personnel Subcommittee. Dr. McCollough is also an accomplished educator who has mentored more than 100 colleagues, residents, research fellows and students.
Dr. McCollough has served in leadership roles for many professional organizations. She is chair of the board and past president of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM). Among her numerous honors, Dr. McCollough is a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, the AAPM and the American College of Radiology, and recipient of the 2019 Distinguished Investigator of the Academy for Radiology & Biomedical Imaging Research.
“Dr. McCollough is truly a distinguished researcher,” said Matthew Callstrom, M.D., Ph.D. (MED ’97, RD ’02), chair of the Midwest Department of Radiology, in a statement to the selection committee. “She has made substantial contributions to research in medical imaging and advanced the applications of imaging techniques in disease diagnosis and treatment for more than 25 years.”
Dr. McCollough’s research focuses on the development and evaluation of new technology for CT imaging, clinical applications and dose-reduction techniques. As director of Mayo Clinic’s CT Clinical Innovation Center, she leads a multidisciplinary research team to detect and quantify disease using CT imaging.
Her team has developed hardware and software systems, as well as translated techniques for the clinical application of dual-energy CT, and was the first to report the potential for using this noninvasive technique to identify urinary stone type.