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Lali Medina-Kauwe, PhD, Named Inaugural Chair in Medical Discovery

Medina-Kauwe to Lead Nanoparticle Cancer Research as Carol Moss Foundation Chair in Medical Discovery

Cedars-Sinai has named Lali Medina-Kauwe, PhD, as the inaugural holder of the Carol Moss Foundation Chair in Medical Discovery. The generous support of the Carol Moss Foundation, whose endowment was championed by the foundation’s late president, Samuel W. Halper, will enable Medina-Kauwe to advance innovative research in nanomedicine, the engineering of tiny particles to prevent and treat disease. 

Medina-Kauwe is associate director for Basic Research in Cedars-Sinai Cancer, co-director of the PhD Program in Biomedical and Translational Research at the Cedars-Sinai Graduate School, and a professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences.

Widely recognized as a leading authority in nanomedicine, Medina-Kauwe has created nanoparticle therapies engineered to target and halt cancer growth. She seeks to develop advanced technology that delivers therapeutic agents to triple-negative breast cancer cells that metastasize to the brain.

“I'm honored to hold this new position,” said Medina-Kauwe, who joined Cedars-Sinai in 2003. “I would like to thank the Carol Moss Foundation for recognizing that it takes creativity, out-of-the-box thinking and innovation for the multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary work that has the potential for translating into the clinic.”

Medina-Kauwe’s commitment to discovering viable new cancer treatments stems from personal experience—she lost both her mother and grandmother to drug-resistant cancers.

A native Angeleno, Medina-Kauwe earned a bachelor’s degree at Occidental College and a PhD in molecular biology from UCLA. She later pursued postdoctoral training at Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California. She has received competitive funding from the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Defense, and the American Cancer Society.

“Dr. Medina-Kauwe’s creative work on the use of nanoparticles to target therapies directly to malignant cells has propelled her terrific career accomplishments,” said Shlomo Melmed, MB, ChB, dean of the Medical Faculty at Cedars-Sinai and the Helene A. and Philip E. Hixon Distinguished Chair in Investigative Medicine. “We are delighted to recognize her pioneering work and look forward to many more years of her innovative discovery here at Cedars-Sinai.”

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