2010 Graduate Pelotonia Fellows

Jennifer Ahn-Jarvis
Graduate program: Food Science and Nutrition
Project: Evaluating Bioavailability of Isoflavones Delivered by Soy Bread in Men with Recurring Prostate Cancer and Rising Prostate Specific Antigen
Lay abstract: Soy and soy-almond bread will be used to investigate the absorption and metabolism of isoflavones (phytochemical common in soy) in men with recurring prostate cancer. Men will be classified by their isoflavone metabolite profile and their biological responses to soy foods. The wisdom gained might help doctors identify individuals who could benefit from therapy with soy foods.

Christina Austin
Graduate program: Molecular Genetics
Project: Ligand Specificity in EGFR signaling in Drosophila melanogaster
Lay abstract: To use the model system Drosophila melanogaster (fruit flies) to study the signaling specificities for individual growth factors, called ligands, that activate the EGFR signaling pathway. This pathway is critical for normal breast development in humans, but is often involved in breast cancers when proper control of the signaling is lost.


Edward Briercheck
Graduate program: Medical Scientist Program (MSP)
Project: The role of PTEN in human natural killer cell function
Lay abstract: We are trying to understand how the body's own immune system defends against cancer. Specifically, we think mutations in tumor supressor genes may not only effect cancer growth, but an immune cell's ability to fight it.
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Huizi Chen
Graduate program: Medical Scientist Program (MSP
Project: Atypical mammalian repressors E2F7 & E2F8 link hepatocyte endocycle regulation with tumor suppression
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Hsiao-Ching Chuang
Graduate program: Medicinal Chemistry & Pharmacognosy
Project: Combining poly-(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitors with FTY-720 as a novel therapeutic approach for triple-negative breast cancer
Lay abstract: Define the mechanism of how FTY-720, an immunosuppressive drug could enhance the anti-cancer activity of PARP inhibitors. This would provide a potential new therapeutic approach for triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) patients for whom available options are limited.
Nripesh Dhungel
Graduate program: Molecular Genetics
Project: tRNA splicing endonuclease:Investigating novel functions
Lay abstract: Investigate the cytoplasmic function of the tRNA splicing endonuclease and confirm and characterize the physiological role of the novel tRNA splicing endonuclease (Sen15) dimer. The study will aid in providing a more resolute understanding of major factors in biosynthesis of tRNA and will contribute to a better understanding of an emerging player in cancer.



Zhongqi Ge
Graduate program: Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology (MCDB)
Project: Role of acetylation of newly synthesized histone H4 in DNA repair linked chromatin reassembly
Lay abstract: Evaluate the role of acetylation of newly synthesized histone H4 in the process of chromatin reassembly following the recombinational repair of DNA double strand breaks. The long-term goal of this project is to discover key enzymes which are responsible for the histone acetylations as potential targets for cancer therapy.


April Renee Sandy Gocha
Graduate program: Integrated Biomedical Science Graduate Program (IBGP)
Project: BRCA1 and RecQ-like helicases in the control of telomere maintenance
Lay abstract: Investigate whether the interaction of two proteins is necessary to maintain the ends of DNA (telomeres) in cancer cells. This work will help understand how cancer cells survive and will ultimately help guide development of targeted cancer therapy

Geoffrey Gonzalez
Graduate program: Microbiology
Project: Establishment of Salmonella gallbladder carriage: role in hepatobiliary carcinoma
Lay abstract: Demonstrate the role of S. Typhi gallbladder carriage in the development of gallbladder cancer. This study will not only contribute to the early detection and/or prevention of this malignancy but also could provide scientific evidence for the broader relationship between chronic infections and cancer.
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Brian J Hutzen
Graduate program: Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology (MCDB)
Project: Treatment of Medulloblastoma with Re-targeted Oncolytic Measles Viruses
Lay abstract: Engineer oncolytic measles viruses to specifically target and destroy different subtypes of medulloblastoma. These viruses may eventually offer safer and more effective alternatives to conventional therapeutics.

Huayang Liu
Graduate program: Molecular Genetics
Project: A novel genome-wide screen to identify novel regulators of the tumor microenvironment
Lay abstract: Identify novel genes in the neighboring cells surrounding the tumor that affect tumor initiation and progression. This may provide genetic rationale for generation of new preclinical mouse models and development of combinational therapy to both tumor cells and the neighboring cells.


Justin Andrew North
Graduate program: Physics (Experimental Biophysics)
Project: A study of the molecular mechanism by which human Rad51 and MSH2/MSH6 clear their own path for DNA repair
Lay abstract: Many cancers, including certain breast and colon cancers, arise from the inability of particular proteins to repair damaged DNA. This project is to understand how these DNA repair proteins gain access to damaged DNA in order to perform their designated function in healthy cells but unable to do so in cancerous ones.


Sundaresan Raman
Graduate program: Computer Science & Engineering
Project: A Framework for Analysis of Vasculature Phenotypes in the Tumor Microenvironment
Lay abstract: Develop a 3D computational framework to characterize blood vessels in a tumor micro-environment, enabling analysis of vasculature across genotypes. This may also help the biologists in validating and propounding newer hypotheses.

Shreyas S. Rao
Graduate program: Chemical Engineering
Project: Brain Mimetic Biomaterials for Investigating Tumor Cell Migration
Lay abstract: Develop three dimensional brain mimetic biomaterials to investigate migration of brain cancers outside the human body. These three dimensional tissue like materials overcome limitations of standard two dimensional cultures and may help better understand glioblastoma multiforme behavior in vitro, eventually leading to improved therapeutic options.


Maurisa Flynn Riley
Graduate program: Molecular Genetics
Project: Examining post-transcriptional regulation of the Notch pathway by microRNAs
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Amit Sharma
Graduate program: Molecular Genetics
Project: Novel translation control strategy of junD protooncogene, a modulator of neoplastic transformation
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Hosung Sim
Graduate program : Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology (MCDB)
Project: Molecular orchestration between cancer cells and microenvironment for brain tumor progression: Activation of PDGF signaling by tumor-secreted proteoglycans
Lay abstract: Investigate the invasive mechanisms of malignant brain tumors (gliomas) promoted by the protein brevican secreted by glioma cells. This study will provide a better understanding of how gliomas invade brain tissue and will improve our ability to develop targeted therapies against the tumor microenvironment.

David A. Taffany
Graduate program: Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology (MCDB)
Project: Ets2-Mediated Global Genetic and Epigenetic Alterations to the Myeloid Genome Throughout the Course of Tumor Progression
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Chuang Tan
Graduate program: Chemical Physics
Project: The repair dynamics of UV-induced DNA damage by Photolyase
Lay abstract: No tumor is an island, and current research is revealing how the “normal” tissue that surrounds tumors may influence how cancer grows and spreads. My project focuses on how cancer cells communicate with a type of immune cell, called a macrophage, and how these macrophages allow cancer to spread to different areas of the body.


Bo Wang
Graduate program: Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology (MCDB)
Project: Role of Cancer Stem Cells in Choline Deficient and Ethionine Supplemented (CDE) diet-induced hepatocarcinogenesis in liver-specific miR-122 knockout mice
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Jamie N. Wolf 
Graduate program: Molecular Genetics
Project: Roles of RNA Polymerases IV and V RNA-Directed DNA Methylation of Geminivirus DNA
Lay abstract: Determine how cellular and viral DNA is recognized and targeted for methylation using geminiviruses as a model. This work is important because changes in DNA methylation have been associated with a variety of cancers, therefore this research could lead to cancer therapies that affect methylation pathways and viruses.


Salene M. Wu
Graduate program: Psychology
Project: Relationship of General and Health-related Anxiety and Worry to Markers of Inflammation in Women with Recurrent Cancer
Lay abstract: This study will investigate the relationship between psychological factors, including anxiety and worry, and different inflammatory markers that have been linked to the immune system's ability to fight cancer. Women with recurrent cancer will be studied.

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