The Efroymson Family Fund, a donor-advised fund of the Central Indiana Community Foundation, has announced a $2 million gift to establish an endowed chair for cancer research at the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center.
The Rachel Cecile Efroymson Chair in Cancer Research is the second endowed chair established by fund chairperson Lori Efroymson-Aguilera to benefit research at the Simon Cancer Center and to honor the memories of her late husband, Dan, and their daughter, Rachel. Both lost their lives to cancer.
Jiali Han, Ph.D., an internationally recognized cancer researcher who links genes for diseases with their environmental triggers, has been named inaugural holder of the chair. Han, who is also the inaugural chair of the department of epidemiology at the Fairbanks School of Public Health at Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis, is working to discover genetic traits that trigger disease when exposed to certain behaviors and then translate that knowledge into public policy and individual prevention strategies. The IU Simon Cancer Center is conducting a national search to permanently fill the chair.
"I am deeply inspired by Lori and her family," said IU Simon Cancer Center director Patrick J. Loehrer, Sr. "Our relationship with them began because of a disease that took two lives, far too soon. What it did not take away from this extraordinary family is the passion to make a difference for others. Through their generosity, the names of Rachel and Dan Efroymson will remain a constant reminder to our researchers — not for what cancer did to them, but rather as a charge for what we must do to relieve the burden of cancer for other families."