The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The Donald D. Dorfman Research Award doubles for 2017

File Photo
Patients check into the Holden Center on Aug. 25, 2016.

Two Iowa researchers are honored for their outstanding work in the area of leukemia research.

By Madison Purvis

[email protected]

 Two heads are better than one, especially in cancer research.

Earlier this month, two University of Iowa professors received the Donald D. Dorfman Research Award for their papers on leukemia research. Both received a $10,000 award for their outstanding work. 

The Dorfman Award is given through the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center and is granted to the person who submits the best research paper on the topics of lymphoma or leukemia.  

However, there is normally only one award given each year. This year, two researchers were selected. 

“The winning paper is selected by a review committee that is composed of senior leaders in the cancer center who look at the quality of the paper and the impact the paper is likely to have on the futures of leukemia and lymphoma,” said Professor George Weiner, the director of the Holden Center. 

Yet, this year the review committee found two very strong but very different papers. While the members tried to decide which paper was worthier, they wondered if they could give out two awards, Weiner said. 

“They then contacted the Dorfman family, who thought this was a great idea and made giving two awards possible,” Weiner said.  

RELATED: Holden center reaches out in data

UI biochemistry Assistant Professor Miles Pufall, one of the award recipients, got his research start at the University of Utah, where he did graduate work. He then did postdoctoral research at the University of California-San Francisco.

After this, he received a few different job offers but ended up choosing Iowa. Pufall’s decision to come to Iowa was due to a group in the Biochemistry Department that was very strong in the field he was working in, and Iowa had a Comprehensive Cancer Center, which was also important to his research.  

Pufall acknowledged the high quality of the facilities at the UI and said the university is good about ensuring vital tools are available. In regard to his specific field, he said the UI offers the ability “to work with both basic science and clinical science, which is important for his research.”  

In response to receiving the award, Pufall said, “the recognition proved the work we did was worthwhile and had a future. It spoke well for the lab and our approach.” 

Pufall said it was a great feeling to know that they have contributed to the Holden Center. 

UI Professor of microbiology Hai-Hui (Howard) Xue, the other recipient of the Dorfman Award, did his postdoctoral training at the National Institutes of Heath in Bethesda, Maryland, where he developed the interest to pursue his own independent research. Like Pufall, he also had numerous job offers but chose to pursue a career at the UI. 

Why Xue chose the UI, he said, in an email to The Daily Iowan, “One important factor [was] the research community in my research fields, including immunology, where I could share interest and a strong basis for collaboration.” 

He also said that he was attracted the “outstanding education system for children and excellent job opportunities for working spouses.” 

While Xue has been doing research here for many years, he said, “this award is a strong encouragement for our group to continue our research in finding more effective therapy for leukemia.” 

He believes that finding a cure to leukemia depends on the understanding and support of the whole community.

More to Discover