2012 Graduate Pelotonia Fellows

Cai ChenCai Chen
Graduate Program: Biophysics
Mentor: Ralf Bundschuh, PhD, College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Physics
Project: Role of RNA editing in the cancer transcriptome and cancer subtype discrimination
Project Summary: Investigate how RNA editing is involved in cancer and apply it to classify cancer subtypes. This will advance our understanding of the relationship between RNA editing and cancer and provide a novel approach to cancer subtype determination and identification which could enable more targeted cancer treatment.



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Johnna Dominick BurkeJohnna Dominick Burke
Graduate Program: Ohio State Biochemistry Program (OSBP)
Mentor: Tsonwin Hai, PhD, College of Medicine, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry
Project: The Role of ATF3 in Lymphocytes to Promote Melanoma Metastasis
Project Summary: Evaluate how the expression of a stress-inducible gene (ATF3) within immune cells surrounding the tumor enhances cancer spread to secondary sites. Immune cell based therapies are currently used to treat melanoma and limit its spread to secondary sites. Therefore, information gained from this proposal can be applied to current therapies to increase their efficacy.



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William HankeyWilliam Hankey
Graduate Program: Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program
Mentor: Joanna Groden, PhD, College of Medicine, Department
of Molecular Virology, Immunology and Medical Genetics
Project: Chromatin-associated functions of the APC tumor suppressor
Project Summary: In the cells that line the large intestine, the adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) protein interacts with DNA chromosomes and controls many genes involved in cancer. If APC becomes mutated, an intestinal polyp forms that can eventually become cancerous. We will identify the genes controlled by APC and study their value as genetic indicators for cancer prognosis or therapeutic decision-making, or as potential targets for new cancer treatments.



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En-Chi HsuEn-Chi Hsu
Graduate Program: Pharmacy
Mentor: Ching-Shih Chen, PhD, College of Pharmacy, Division of Medicinal Chemistry
Project: Targeting the IL-6-NF-κB signaling loop in breast cancer stem cells by a novel integrin-linked kinase inhibitor, T315
Project Summary: Cancer stem cells may develop drug resistance and spread to other organs (metastasis), both of which cause cancer patients to have low survival rates. We will study how inflammatory cytokine, IL-6, induces the cancer stem cells via up-regulate a tumorigenic protein, Integrin-linked kinase (ILK). The information will be used to target cancer with a novel ILK inhibitor, T315.



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Aishwarya JacobAishwarya Jacob
Graduate Program: Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology (MCDB)
Mentor: Dawn Chandler, PhD, College of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics-Nationwide Children's Hospital
Project: Stress-Induced MDM2 Splicing is dictated by Conserved Cis elements and their Binding Factors
Project Summary: Understand the mechanism of generation and function of the short form of a protein MDM2 that plays an important role in tumor formation. The short form called MDM2- ALT1 can manipulate the functions of the full-length protein thereby modulating the activity of a protein called p53 that prevents the cells from forming tumors. This project will provide key information that can potentially be used to treat Rhabdomyosarcomas, a type of pediatric cancer that at present has very few therapeutic options.


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I-Ju LeeI-Ju Lee
Graduate Program: Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology (MCDB)
Mentor: Jian-Qiu Wu, PhD, Arts and Sciences, Department of Molecular Genetics
Project: Regulation of cytokinesis and cell polarity by putative Rho-GEF Gef2 in fission yeast
Project Summary: Using fission yeast as a model system, the regulation of cell division and cell polarity by a key molecule Gef2 will be studied. This study may advance cancer research by revealing important mechanisms in cell division and cell-polarity establishment, as failures in these processes often contribute to cancer development.


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Hui-wen LiuHui-wen Liu
Graduate Program: Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology (MCDB)
Mentor: Jeff Parvin, MD, PhD, College of Medicine, Department of Biomedical Informatics
Project: Genome-wide mapping of SUMO-1 in human cells and its implications for transcription control during cell cycle progression
Project Summary: SUMOylation, a process that regulates protein function, plays a critical role in maintaining genome integrity. To better understand how SUMO-1 regulates gene expression during cell cycle progression, our project focuses on identifying SUMO-1 signature in the human genome. This may help to reveal more insights into the complex mechanisms that regulate cell growth and tumor development.


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Ta-Ming LiuTa-Ming Liu
Graduate Program: Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology (MCDB)
Mentor: John Byrd, MD, College of Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine
Project: Integrin Linked Kinase has a survival function and is a novel therapeutic target in chronic lymphocytic leukemia
Project Summary: Identify how CLL leukemia cells survive and proliferate upon activation of crucial kinase called ILK. This study will provide insight into how CLL progresses and develop a novel inhibitor for cancer therapy.


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Yicheng LongYicheng Long
Graduate Program: Ohio State Biochemistry Program (OSBP)
Mentor: Jane Jackman, PhD, College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Biochemistry
Project: Thg1 enzyme function in mitochondria
Project Summary: Understand the functions of an important enzyme called Thg1 that is associated with cancer, diabetes, and kidney diseases. This study could provide insight into previously unknown mechanisms of cancer-associated cellular events, and may eventually provide a novel target for cancer therapy.




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Alexander R. de N. LucasAlexander R. de N. Lucas
Graduate Program: Health and Exercise Science
Mentor: Brian Focht, PhD, College of Education and Human Ecology, School of Physical Activity and Educational Services
Project: Lifestyle behaviors in a sample of endometrial cancer survivors
Project Summary: The majority of endometrial cancer patients can expect to survive their diagnosis. However because the main causes of the disease are thought to be lifestyle related many of these survivors suffer from additional health problems such as heart disease and diabetes. Exercise and diet are important healthy behaviors for these survivors to adopt, therefore this project will assess the effectiveness of dietary and exercise changes to improve health in endometrial cancer patients.



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Daphne PringleDaphne Pringle
Graduate Program: Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology (MCDB)
Mentor: Lawrence Kirschner, MD, PhD, College of Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine
Project: PRKAR1A and PTEN mutations in follicular thyroid carcinoma: identifying molecular mechanisms of metastasis and novel targets for therapy
Project Summary

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Khyati ShahKhyati Shah
Graduate Program: Ohio State Biochemistry Program (OSBP)
Mentor: Paul Herman, PhD, College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Molecular Genetics
Project: Characterization of the role of P‐bodies for quiescent cell survivalProject
Project Summary: P-bodies are large structures in cells that are visible by the microscope. They contain several enzymes responsible for breaking down particular RNAs and protein molecules in the cell. The formation of P-bodies is a conserved response to stresses like heat, cold, UV radiation etc. and their presence may contribute to the observed drug resistance of some tumors. Our studies will examine the biological roles of P-body foci in ageing cells and determine the significance of storing important molecules which are required for proper cell function in these structures.


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The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James) 300 W. 10th Ave. Columbus, OH 43210 Phone: 1-800-293-5066 | Email: jamesline@osumc.edu