Two Roswell Park Immunology Leaders Honored by Society for Thermal Medicine

Drs. Elizabeth Repasky and Sharon Evans have helped establish links between immune system and cancer
Wednesday, May 23, 2018
  • Drs. Elizabeth Repasky, left, and Sharon Evans with the awards they received at a recent meeting of the Society for Thermal Medicine. (Photo courtesy of STM)
    Drs. Elizabeth Repasky, left, and Sharon Evans with the awards they received at a recent meeting of the Society for Thermal Medicine. (Photo courtesy of STM)
Highlights: 
Dr. Evans is third Roswell Park faculty member to win Society’s top honor
Dr. Repasky recognized for role as a mentor to students and junior researchers
Both have led research on body temperature, the immune system and cancer

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Two Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center researchers who have focused their work around the impact of temperature on the immune system and its implications for cancer treatment were recently honored by the Society for Thermal Medicine (STM). Elizabeth Repasky, PhD, was awarded the 2018 William C. Dewey Award and Sharon Evans, PhD, received the J. Eugene Robinson Award at the STM’s 2018 Annual Meeting in Tucson, Arizona, earlier this month.

The Dewey Award, named for Dr. Bill Dewey, is presented every other year to an investigator who has contributed in a significant way to the mentorship and training of new investigators in the field of thermal medicine. Dr. Repasky, who is the William Huebsch Professor of Immunology and Co-Leader of the Cell Stress and Biophysical Therapies Program at Roswell Park, has served as major advisor to more than 40 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, and has also mentored numerous junior faculty members and medical and surgical oncology. She directs a research program focused on exploration of thermal stress and how it can be manipulated to alter the microenvironment around cancer tumors and improve the efficacy of cancer therapies including immunotherapy and radiation.

The Robinson Award is presented annually to an investigator who has made outstanding contributions to the field of hyperthermic oncology. Named after J. Eugene Robinson, a pioneer in the field of hyperthermia, it is the highest honor awarded by the STM. Dr. Evans, Professor of Oncology in the Department of Immunology, joined the Roswell Park faculty in 1987 and is internationally recognized in the multidisciplinary fields of cytokine biology, lymphocyte trafficking and thermal regulation. Her work has helped pave the way for major discoveries related to cancer immunotherapy and has guided the development of several clinical trials. A past president of the STM, she has also earned recognition for her mentorship of more than 35 students and fellows.

“What Drs. Repasky and Evans have done is really remarkable,” says Kelvin Lee, MD, Jacobs Chair in Immunology at Roswell Park. “By paying attention to subtle signals our bodies send out when we’re cold or hot or reacting to some stress, they helped to establish thermal medicine as a field. They’ve helped other scientists to design smarter, more effective cancer therapies, and that influence will continue to play out for years to come.”

Both honorees gave invited lectures in connection with their recognition. Dr. Evans became the third consecutive Robinson Award winner from Roswell Park, as both Dr. Repasky and John Subjeck, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Oncology in the Department of Cell Stress Biology at the cancer center, have received the award as well. 

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Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center is a community united by the drive to eliminate cancer’s grip on humanity by unlocking its secrets through personalized approaches and unleashing the healing power of hope. Founded by Dr. Roswell Park in 1898, it is the only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center in Upstate New York. Learn more at www.roswellpark.org, or contact us at 1-800-ROSWELL (1-800-767-9355) or ASKRoswell@roswellpark.org.

Media Contact: 

Annie Deck-Miller, Senior Media Relations Manager
716-845-8593; annie.deck-miller@roswellpark.org