MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Laura Gibson, Ph.D., will be installed as the first Alexander B. Osborn Distinguished Professor in Hematological Malignancies Research at the West Virginia University School of Medicine on Sept. 13.

Dr. Gibson is co-leader of the Osborn Hematopoietic Malignancy and Transplantation Program and deputy director of the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center (MBRCC) at WVU.

The Osborn professorship was made possible by a donation from the Alexander Bland Osborn Trust and a West Virginia Research Trust Fund match to create a $1.57 million investment in the hematological malignancies program as well as the professorship. 

Gibson, a professor in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Cell Biology, is recognized as an outstanding leader, researcher, mentor and educator. She has earned a Robert C. Byrd Professorship, the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research and the Women in Science and Health Excellence Award from WVU Health Sciences.  She has mentored more than 40 pre-doctoral students, postdoctoral trainees and summer research fellows.

She has presented numerous lectures on her research in the U.S. and abroad. Her research focuses on the tumor microenvironment, influences on therapeutic response and chemotherapy-induced alterations of the marrow microenvironment as it relates to a patient’s immune system recovery after transplantation. Her lab also studies the survival and growth of leukemic stem cells in the bone marrow to learn better ways to treat acute lymphoblastic leukemia – the most common cancer diagnosed in children.                                                                             

Gibson is the principal investigator on grants that total more than $1 million annually, including the MBRCC’s Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence Award in Signal Transduction and Cancer, recently renewed for Phase III support by the National Institutes of Health (NIH); two NIH R01 grants awarded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the National Cancer Institute; and a grant from the St. Baldrick’s Foundation to establish models to investigate leukemic cell infiltration of the central nervous system as an extension of her lab’s interest in tumor microenvironment.  

Gibson will give a talk, “The Bone Marrow Microenvironment: A Site of Sanctuary,” during the installation, which will begin at 4 p.m. in the Fukushima Auditorium at Health Sciences.

In addition to the professorship, the Osborn gift will also support lab and equipment needs, as well as fellowships, as determined by Gibson.

Alexander Bland Osborn of Clarksburg attended West Virginia University and was associated with the College of Engineering and Mineral Resources’ Class of 1926. He was founder and president of Osborn Construction Company and West Virginia Welding. He created the trust in 1993, designating the MBRCC among the charitable beneficiaries of his estate. The trust has also provided support for scholarships for in-state students at WVU and two state colleges.

For more information: Amy Johns, HSC News Service, 304-293-7087
ss: 08-30-11