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2012 Forty Under 40: Bryan Schneider

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Bryan Schneider
Where were you, and what were you doing in 1991?
Graduating from high school in Jasper and starting college at the University of Evansville, majoring in biology and chemistry with the goal of becoming a physician.

When you graduated from high school, what did you think you wanted to be as an adult?
I was inspired to become a doctor by the death of my grandmother from cancer, but was not sure what specialty I would want to pursue.

Was there an event in the last 20 years that had a great impact on your aspirations and/or career path?
A meeting with two of my mentors, David Flockhart and George Sledge, in 2003 convinced me to pursue translational science/research in addition to taking care of patients.

Where/what do you want to be 20 years from now?
To be still taking care of patients with breast cancer, as there could be nothing more rewarding.


 
 

Associate professor of medicine, associate professor of medical and molecular genetics, Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center
Age: 38

Bryan Schneider’s achievements in breast cancer research continue to build on each other.

In 2005—spurred by a patient advocate named Connie Rufenbarger as well as colleagues including his mentor, oncologist George Sledge—the physician/researcher at the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center embarked on a project that collected more than 1,000 blood and tissue samples and vital information from women without breast cancer. The goal was to find genetic variations or changes that might predict an increased risk of breast cancer.

The Friends of Life, as the project became known, left him with “a couple thousand samples in a freezer with a lot of genetic work ahead of me,” he said.

Four years later, using what he’d learned from that research, he earned a $5.8 Komen Foundation Promise Grant to sort out which patients are going to gain the most benefit and which will have the fewest side effects from the drug Avastin.

The Komen grant enabled him to identify some of those genetic markers. That led, in 2011, to a $450,000 Conquer Cancer Foundation grant to refine his research to determine which patients will have success from taxanes, which prevent growth of cancer cells.

When he’s not in the lab or seeing patients, Schneider is probably spending time with his wife, Kim, and their 2-year-old son or lifting weights in his basement. “It’s an amazing de-stresser,” he said.

Losing his grandmother to cancer when he was 10 spurred Schneider to become a doctor. Now he spends about 25 percent of his time with patients and 75 percent doing research in breast cancer. His goal is to use genetics to try to find the best drug for each patient.

Schneider doesn’t expect to cure breast cancer, but “if I can make a dent finding which drug is going to cure a small portion of patients, that would be overwhelming.”•
 

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