Renowned speaker kicks off UHV cancer prevention series Thursday

An expert-filled series of talks about every facet of cancer, including how to prevent the disease, will begin Thursday at the University of Houston-Victoria.

Sam Rhine, a University of Indiana faculty member and former fellow at Harvard University Medical School, will speak about “Genes and Cancer” from 7 to 9 p.m. in Room 309 of the George Building at the University of Houston System at Sugar Land, and via Interactive Television in Room 312 of the UHV University Center and the UH System at Cinco Ranch in Katy. The public is invited to attend for the first hour of the class, from 7 to 8 p.m., before Rhine addresses the students directly.

Earlier in the day, Rhine will talk to more than 500 high school and college students from the region in the Victoria College Auditorium. The Fortville, Ind.-based expert in genetics education has spoken to high school students and teachers around the country for the past 30 years about the advances in genetic research. He is an honorary member of the National Association of Biology Teachers.

Richard Gunasekera, a UHV professor and director of graduate biology studies, has scheduled the speaker series to educate Victoria residents, those who live in surrounding communities and students in his biomedical science class. Students from the UHV School of Education & Human Development also receive credit for the class.

“This series is an opportunity to hear from the foremost authorities in the fields of cancer research, prevention and treatment,” Gunasekera said. “Change in health behavior through public and professional education is our goal. Getting the medical community to speak with students is the first step toward positive, generational change in behavior.”

A highlight of the series will be a March 10 talk by John Milner of the National Institute of Health. He will present information about opportunities and challenges associated with diet and cancer prevention.

The dates for other series speakers are as follows. Times and locations should remain the same as the first talk:

Feb. 17 – Homer Black, professor emeritus of dermatology from the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, will discuss “Protection from Melanoma Skin Cancer by Omega Three Fatty Acids.”  


March 3 – Gopala Kovvali, executive editor of the “Journal of Carcinogenesis,” will speak about “Biology to Targeted Therapy for Cure for Chronic Myeloid Leukemia.” Kovvali is the president of the Carcinogenesis Foundation and an adjunct faculty member at Rutgers University in New Jersey.

March 10 – John Milner of the National Institute of Health will make a presentation titled “Opportunities and Challenges Associated with Diet and Cancer Prevention.” Milner is the chief of nutritional science in the cancer prevention division of the National Cancer Institute at the National Institute of Health in Rockville, Md.

April 21 – Pediatric oncologist Pete Anderson will speak about “Diagnosis of Cancer and Treatments for Cancer.” Anderson is the Curtis Distinguished Professor at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Gunasekera’s own research focus is on nutrition study at the cellular level and the safe uses of preventative food and exotic products in cancer prevention efforts.

For more information about the series, contact Gunasekera at 281-275-8826 or

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.

Ken Cooke 361-570-4342