Dr. James bonner recruited to chair the Department of radiation oncology. Novel gene therapy trial for ovarian can- cer launched.
Cancer Center research support exceeds $65 million.
Voncile Johnson Nelson Shealy estate names Cancer Center beneficiary of $7.5 million. New outpatient clinic opens at Acton
uglio steps down as director.
Cancer Center receives $9-million SPore grant in ovarian cancer.
Cancer Center receives $11.8-million SP in brain tumor research.
oncology rotation changed Dr. Nabell’s
mind in an unexpected way.
“She was very condescending,” Nabell
says. “She was the one calling the shots.
When I watched her interact with patients,
I kept thinking, ‘I could do so much better
than that.’ That experience seriously galva-
The resident’s example “propelled me
into internal medicine,” Dr. Nabell says.
And “the marriage of research and cutting-
edge changes,” she says, led her to hematol-
ogy and oncology. She spent much of her
fellowship at UAB in the lab of the late
Jeffrey Kudlow, M.D., before the famous
“three A’s” of the practicing physician led to
more time at the patient bedside, she says:
“I was able, available, and affable.” A new
mother and a busy clinician, Dr. Nabell
“had to reinvent myself,” she says.
UNEXpECtED INtEREst Dr. Nabell’s interest in head and neck
cancer also was unexpected—she was
“thrust into it,” she says, “because the
doctor who was doing it previously left.”
she says, “I have a sneaky love affair with
administration. I like to make things better,
see them be better and know I had a hand in
it. It’s my dirty secret.”
Dr. Nabell’s other secret is that her fel-
lows aren’t the only ones learning from their
time in the hospital. “Part of being the fel-
lowship director and being so intimately
involved is that you’re constantly challenged
by the fellows and the residency team,” she
says. “Invariably, I come away knowing a lit-
tle bit more because I had to go look some-
thing up so I could explain it better, or I get
challenged and have to look it up to explain
my position. I always come away a little bet-
ter educated than when I started.”
however, “it’s really been a nice niche,” she
says. “There are a lot of collaborative efforts
ongoing between surgery and radiation
oncology, which I like.
“It’s a really interesting field, and not
just from a standpoint of pathogenesis,”
Dr. Nabell adds. “The patient population
runs the gamut” from lifetime smokers with
throat cancer to nonsmokers and nondrink-
ers whose cancer is seemingly inexplicable.
“Pain management is a prominent need in
this area, as is outcomes analysis, looking at
late effects of surgery, radiation or chemo-
therapy,” she says. “I wouldn’t have thought
Dr. Nabell is intrigued by the complex-
ity of the head and neck, she says—“speech,
it, and “the kids whine a lot,” she says, “but
when they get back and look at it, they’re
“I’m eternally grateful for having chil-
dren,” she says. “They really rounded me
out.” She learned to play the violin along
with her children and continues to take
lessons, although “my children have easily
surpassed me,” she says. “It’s one of those
things you’re not looking for that kind of
improves the quality of conversation at the
That dinner table is usually packed. A
self-confessed “foodie,” Dr. Nabell enjoys
cooking and grows a veritable forest of basil
to support her pesto habit. “My idea of a
good meal is probably a roast pork loin with
a risotto or a pesto and pan-seared veg-
etables.” And, she says, red wine—another
field she stumbled into unintentionally. She
recalls leading recruiting dinners as interim
director of the division. “When it came
time to order wine, the waiter would sort of
halfway turn to me, and neither of us was
sure what to do.” She became “much more
aggressive,” she says, about moving beyond
taste, articulation, vocalization, swallow-
ing—it’s all going on in that area.” And, she
says, it’s been a “fruitful area for investiga-
tion,” working with the surgical group in
developing new trials.
Dr. Nabell’s other main roles at UAB
take her away from the hospital. As fel-
lowship director for hematology/oncology
and The Kirklin Clinic’s medical director
for hematology/oncology clinical activities,
Dr. Nabell spends more time behind a desk
than at the patient’s bedside. Maintaining
program accreditation, seeing to reimburse-
ment issues, scheduling chemotherapy and
her other duties are as much an exercise in
time and resource management as anything
else, she says. But “to be perfectly honest,”
her casual enjoyment of wine to develop a
“It’s not a love affair, mind you, but I
expanded my horizons,” she says. “I was sort
of forced into it.”
Cancer Center receives $13.8-million SPore in breast cancer and funding from NCI to establish the Deep South Network for Cancer Control. Dr. Kirby bland recruited as chair of surgery and depu- ty director of center.
Center is awarded a $4.5-million pancreatic cancer SP P20 grant. Award is one of only three nationally.
“thERE ARE A LOt Of COLLABORAtIVE EffORts
ONgOINg BEtwEEN sURgERy AND RADIAtION
ONCOLOgy, whICh I LIkE.” – Lisle Nabell
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