Gregory Adams, PhD
Mentor: Joseph Palumbo, MD
Project: Thrombin promotes prostate cancer progression
Project Summary: Determine the contribution of the blood coagulation system to prostate cancer pathogenesis using various mouse models. The project will focus on the enzymatic action of thrombin on primary tumor growth
William Cantara, PhD
Mentor: Karin Musier-Forsyth, PhD
Project: Stuctural characterization of the 5'-UTR of the oncogenic HTLV-1 retrovirus
Project Summary: We aim to understand the three-dimensional structure of a key region within the genome of a cancer-causing virus. The results of this study will provide new drug targets for cancer therapy.
Dalia Elgamal, PhD
Mentor: John C. Byrd, MD
Project: PRMT5 dysregulation as a driver event in Richter's transformation
Project Summary: Determine the expression and function of PRMT5, an enzyme involved in repression of various cell cycle regulatory and tumor suppressor genes, in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and Richter's transformation (RS). My project will provide insight on PRMT5 as a potential marker to identify CLL patients that will likely progress to RS. This study will offer vital information to develop new therapies for RS, a currently incurable disease.
Luiz Henrique de Lima Araujo, MD
Mentor: David Paul Carbone, MD, PhD
Project: Circulating microRNAs in non-small cell lung cancer treated with Vandetanib
Project Summary: Develop a molecular signature that will be used to select patients with advanced Non-Small Lung Cancer to receive a targeted therapy named vandetanib. The signature will be based on the expression of small molecules named microRNAs, which can be found in patients’ blood, and can be assessed before treatment beginning.
Alena Jamie-Ramirez, PhD
Mentor: Balveen Kaur
Project: Oncolytic virotherapy and immunotherapy for the treatment of brain tumors.
Project Summary: Breast cancer is estimated to be the second leading cause of cancer death and source of brain metastases (BM) among women in the United States. With a dismal one and two year survival of 20% and 2%, respectively, the development of novel treatment modalities is critical. In this study, we will examine the first individual and combinatorial therapeutic effects of tumor targeting oncolytic virus therapy and immune enhancing antibody therapy in BM.
Divya Kensanakurti, PhD
Vinay K. Puduvalli, MDProject:
Role of PAK4 in Epithelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition and Stemness in Malignant GliomasProject Summary
Our study aims at identifying the expression and role of PAK4 protein in glioblastoma (GBM), the most aggressive brain cancer. This study focuses on understanding the PAK4 function in the maintenance of cancer stemness by using cell lines, mouse model and human glioma slice experiments. We will also investigate the epigenetic regulation of PAK4 in stemness and EMT. The results of the study will provide insight on the therapeutic potential of targeting PAK4 by drug development and evaluation in GBMs.
Kara Keplinger, MD
Mentor: Matthew Ringel, MD
Project: P21 activated kinase as a therapeutic target in Papillary Thyroid Cancer
Project Summary: Evaluate the effectiveness of new medications which block a protein called PAK21 in killing thyroid cancer cells. This may provide a new chemotherapeutic agent for a type of cancer
which has few effective medical therapies available.
Priya Londhe, PhD
Mentor: Denis Guttridge, PhD
Project: Microvesicle induced cell death in cancer cachexia
Project Summary: My research is directed towards understanding how nanosized particles like microvesicles secreted by tumor cells regulate muscle wasting in cancer cachexia. These findings will provide significant insights into the mechanisms of cancer cachexia, facilitating the generation of improved therapeutic strategies to ultimately improve the quality of life of these patients.
Annette Ratcliff, PhD
Mentor: Patrick Green PhD & Jesse Kwiek, PhD
Project: Defining the Role of Fatty Acid Synthase in HTLV-1 Replication and T lymphocyte Transformation
Project Summary: We aim to understand how and why a cancer-causing virus changes the activity of an enzyme that produces new fatty acids in human cells. These studies may lead to the development of new cancer therapies.
Eric Samordnitsky, PhD
Mentor: Sameek Roychowdhury, MD, PhD
Project: Modeling acquired resistance fo molecularly targeted cancer therapies through next generation sequencing
Project Summary: We are learning that cancer is hundreds (maybe thousands) of different diseases, not just one disease. Even worse, when attacked with drugs, cancer learns how to fight off the drug. Therefore, we are developing a computer program to understand each cancer and help researchers and clinicians find the weak spot of a cancer at hand to choose the correct drugs to help treat that patient.
Ramon Sun, PhD
Mentor: Nicholas Denko, MD, PhD
Project: Glucose-dependent repression of pyruvate dehydrogenase activity enhances tumor metabolism.
Project Summary: Glucose is a simple sugar and the main food source/metabolic intermediate used in our body. Our recent findings indicate that increased glucose levels have significant impact on mitochondrial function in tumor cells. This project will investigate how glucose signals change cancer cells and determine how important this pathway is for tumor growth.
Christopher Walker, PhD
Mentor: Paul Goodfellow, PhD
Project: Identification and Characterization of Novel Mutations in Endometrial Carcinoma
Project Summary: We will sequence the DNA of uterine cancers to identify the genetic changes that are associated with patient survival and response to treatment. Our findings will allow us to determine the most effective ways to treat future patients based on tumor DNA sequences, and may pave the way for developing and testing new therapies.
Hai Wang, PhD
Mentor: Xiaoming He
Project: A hybrid nanoparticle system for targeted co-delivery of chemo, gene, and photothermal therapies
Project Summary: In this project, we propose to develop biomimetic and biocompatible hybrid nanoscale delivery system that integrates three cancer therapy modalities: chemo, gene and photothermal therapies to target both cancer stem cells and non-stem cancer cells for improved cancer treatment.