Director of Purdue University Center for Cancer Research to speak at next Science on Tap

September 18, 2013  

Timothy Ratliff

Timothy Ratliff
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - More than 12 million people will be diagnosed with cancer this year, confronting a brutal battle filled with treatment methods and side effects that can make the struggle even more difficult.

The Purdue University Center for Cancer Research is working to address the cancer question and lead the way in early detection, prevention and drug discovery through basic research.

To highlight those efforts, Timothy L. Ratliff, the Robert Wallace Miller Director of the Purdue University Center for Cancer Research, will speak at 6 p.m. Sept. 26 as part of the Science on Tap informal lecture series.

The event, which is free and open to those 21 and older, is in the upstairs of the Lafayette Brewing Company, 622 Main St., Lafayette. In the talk, sponsored by the Purdue University Center for Cancer Research and Discovery Park, Ratliff will discuss the many advances in cancer research led by the Purdue center and its collaborators as well as answer questions about cancer.

"Our faculty members have developed new treatments for ovarian, endometrial, lung, kidney and colon cancers that now are being tested in the clinic," Ratliff said. "Purdue scientists also are developing new markers that provide prognostic information on cancer aggressiveness and cancer stage and new ways to image cancer that enable surgeons to more efficiently remove cancer during surgery. Our faculty members are working hard to defeat this disease."

Ratliff joined Philip Low, the Ralph C. Corley Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, at last week's President's Forum to discuss the university's investment in drug discovery and development. Ratliff, Low and directors of other Purdue centers with research focused on the disease targets will meet regularly to share discoveries and ensure a unified, efficient progression of the research.

Ratliff said Purdue has been at the forefront of progress in the discovery of new cancer drugs, diagnostic tools and approaches for treatment. Purdue also has strengths in experimental therapeutics, cell growth and differentiation, and structural biology. Advances in nanomedicine and proteomics have opened the door to new concepts in early cancer detection and treatment.

The Purdue University Center for Cancer Research is one of seven National Cancer Institute-designated basic-research facilities in the United States. Its mission is to discover how cancers develop, progress and respond to treatment and to advance new medicines, diagnostic tools and treatment devices. The center currently has 14 drugs in clinical trials.

Ratliff is nationally recognized for his achievements in urologic research and has made it a priority to foster multidisciplinary collaboration that builds on Purdue's strengths in engineering and science and the resources offered by Discovery Park.

Before coming to Purdue to lead the cancer center in 2007, Ratliff served as the Andersen-Hebbeln Professor of Prostate Cancer Research at the University of Iowa College of Medicine for 10 years. He also spent six years there as research vice chair for its Department of Urology.

Ratliff is a member of the American Urological Association and is founder of the Society for Basic Urologic Research. His research has focused on immunotherapy studies using prostate and bladder cancer models to address questions regarding activation of antitumor responses, characterization of antitumor effector mechanisms and the regulation of antitumor immunity.

He received his bachelor's degree in biology and chemistry from the University of Texas, Arlington. He received his master's degree in biology at Texas A&M, Commerce, and his doctorate in microbiology at the University of Arkansas. Prior to joining the faculty of the University of Iowa, he was a faculty member of Washington University School of Medicine.

Science on Tap, now led by Purdue graduate students Nelda Vazquez and Becca Scott, provides Purdue faculty and collaborating researchers the opportunity to share research activities in an informal setting with presentations that are designed to appeal to a more general audience. Attendance at the monthly event has averaged 80 during the program's first two years.  

Writer: Phillip Fiorini, 765-496-3133,

Sources: Timothy Ratliff, 765-494-9129,

Nelda Vazquez, 765-496-1487,

Related website:
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