University of South Alabama, Office of Public Relations
 
December 16, 2008
Contact: Keith Ayers, USA Director of Public Relations, (251) 460-6211
            

Nationally Renowned Cancer Researcher Joins USA
Mitchell Cancer Institute as Associate Director
 

Nationally renowned cancer researcher, Mobile native and USA alumna Dr. Laurie Beth Owen has joined the University of South Alabama Mitchell Cancer Institute as associate director.

In addition to her duties as associate director for the Center for Basic and Translational Sciences, Owen is professor of oncologic sciences at the USAMCI.

Owen has a renowned career in tumor immunology research, with multiple patents on her innovations used in cancer therapy.

She received her bachelor of science degree in medical technology from the USA College of Allied Health Professions in 1980. In 1986, she earned her Ph.D. in microbiology/immunology from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, where she was awarded a Noble Foundation fellowship and received the University of Oklahoma Regent’s award for outstanding graduate research.

After completing post-doctoral training at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center (UT-MDACC) as a Preuss Foundation fellow, she served as assistant and associate professor of immunology at UT-MDACC from 1990-2000. Owen held positions as professor of biomedical sciences at the University of California-Riverside and professor of immunology at the Beckman Research Institute, City of Hope in Pasadena, Calif., (2000-2003) before serving as founding director of research and development at a privately-held biotechnology company, Biolegend, in San Diego. The company develops antibody reagents for medical research.

Before joining USA, Owen was director of research, development, and enterprise relations at the University of California-Riverside, providing strategic and operational leadership for the planning and implementation of the first new public medical school in the Western United States in 43 years.

The author of over 100 research articles, book chapters, and reports, her scientific contributions have been profiled in the Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, CNN Nightly News, and National Public Radio, among others. She has recently served as a member of the Board of Directors for the American Melanoma Foundation, and on the scientific advisory board for the University of Montana Health Sciences Institute, Signature Biosciences, and on the editorial board of the Journal of Interferon and Cytokine Biology, Apoptosis, and the Journal of Experimental Therapeutics.

Abraham Mitchell Chair and Director of the USA Mitchell Cancer Institute Dr. Michael Boyd said, “Dr. Owen has had extraordinarily successful careers both as a renowned academic cancer researcher and as a biotechnology entrepreneur. We have been extremely fortunate to attract her back ‘home’ to Mobile and the University of South Alabama. Dr. Owen brings to the USAMCI a vast reservoir of scientific leadership and business experience at just the right time to help accelerate the growth of the Institute toward national and international prominence.”

“The USAMCI is a facility without walls where clinicians and basic scientists can seamlessly interact to push the frontiers of discovery and translate innovations into therapeutic solutions with impact,” Owen said. “The USAMCI creates unprecedented opportunity to build regional capacity in cancer-related research and academic clinical oncology that will spur the growth of knowledge-based industries along the entire Gulf Coast region. The leadership at the USAMCI is committed to pioneering practical answers to complex cancer treatment issues, and I am excited and honored to play a part in the process.”

Owen received the 2005 USA Distinguished Alumni Service Award for her career accomplishments. She was part of the inaugural class of recipients of the program run by the USA Office of Alumni Relations.

The University of South Alabama

Since its founding in 1963, the University of South Alabama has been one of Alabama’s fastest growing universities, currently enrolling more than 14,000 students in a wide range of academic programs in Allied Health Professions, Arts and Sciences, Mitchell College of Business, Computer and Information Sciences, Continuing Education and Special Programs, Education, Engineering, Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy. The University has awarded 63,740 degrees.

In addition to teaching and research, USA is one of the largest health care providers in the Mobile region, with its faculty physicians and two hospitals – USA Children’s & Women’s and USA Medical Center – involved in more than a quarter million patient encounters annually. USA is also home to the Mitchell Cancer Institute, the first academic cancer research institute in the upper Gulf Coast region.

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