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Since 1986, the Phoenix Friends of the Arizona Cancer Center have supported scientific research at the Arizona Cancer Center to help transform the future of cancer care. Funds raised by the Friends have gone toward new laboratory equipment, patient support materials, endowed chair positions and more. More recently, funds have been used for the Phoenix Friends Scholar Program, which supports world-class physician-scientists who show extraordinary potential for significantly advancing cancer treatments.
The 2010 Phoenix Friends Scholars are Ravitharan “Ravi” Krishnadasan, MD, Mark "Marty" Pagel, PhD, and Karen Weihs, MD.
Ravitharan “Ravi” Krishnadasan, MD
Dr. Krishnadasan is an assistant professor of clinical medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine. He received his medical degree at St. George’s University School of Medicine, and completed his residency in internal medicine at Norwalk Hospital/Yale University School of Medicine. He earned his fellowship in hematology oncology at Yale University School of Medicine.
Dr. Krishnadasan, certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine in hematology, oncology and internal medicine, worked as an assistant professor of medicine at Brown University for three years before joining the UA College of Medicine and Arizona Cancer Center hematology/oncology section.
His medical focus is on benign hematology, which includes bleeding and clotting disorders, anemias and white cell and platelet disorders as well as malignant hematology, such as leukemias, myelodysplastic syndromes, aplastic anemia, multiple myeloma, myeloproliferative disorders, polycythemia vera, myelofibrosis and essential thrombosis. His research focuses on leukemias, myelodysplastic syndromes and multiple myeloma.
Mark "Marty" Pagel, PhD
Dr. Pagel developed MRI methods to evaluate anti-cancer therapies at Pharmacia Corp. before joining Case Western Reserve University in 2003 to develop MRI contrast agents that detect molecular compositions in tumors.
Dr. Pagel joined the University of Arizona in 2008, where he is now an associate professor of biomedical engineering and chemistry and biochemistry. His laboratory is located in the Arizona Cancer Center, which provides an outstanding environment for cancer imaging research. Dr. Pagel continues to apply MRI methods to evaluate anti-cancer therapies, and has developed a new type of MRI contrast agent for in vivo studies of mouse models with cancer.
Dr. Pagel has also expanded his research program to develop contrast agents for optical imaging and photoacoustic imaging. His interdisciplinary research with molecular imaging contrast agents facilitates much collaboration between biomedical imaging and cancer biology researchers.
Karen Weihs, MD
Dr. Weihs, board certified in family medicine and psychiatry, is the medical director for Supportive Care for Healing, in which Survivorship, Psychiatric and Palliative Care Clinics are integrated with other aspects of multidisciplinary cancer care.
Dr. Weihs' research aims to improve knowledge of how to prevent depression in patients with cancer and their family members, as well as to effectively treat stress and depression when they occur in cancer patients.
She completed medical school at the University of Iowa, followed by residency training in family medicine that included studying family therapy at the Ackerman Institute. After four years as a family medicine faculty member at Brown University, Dr. Weihs completed residency training in adult and child psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin.
Dr. Weihs launched her research career at the Center for Family Research at The George Washington University. She was federally funded to study families and illness, as well as teach brief psychotherapy for psychiatry residents, providing psychiatric care for cancer patients and directing the Clinical Psychiatric Research Center for the conduct of clinical trials of pharmacologic interventions for anxiety and depressive disorders.