2023 Cancer Research Grant Recipients

Dong-Joo Ellen Cheon
Dong-Joo (Ellen) Cheon
2023
Associate Professor
Albany Medical College

Lipid-loaded macrophages as novel therapeutic targets in ovarian cancer

Valentina Hoyos Velez
Valentina Hoyos Velez
2023
Assistant Professor
Baylor College of Medicine

An immunopeptidomics-guided approach to refine target selection of breast cancer antigens for T cell receptor engineered T cell (TCR T) therapy

Nicole James
Nicole James
2023
Assistant Professor
Brown University

Predictive Markers of Immunotherapy Response in Triple Negative Breast Cancer

John Maciejowski
John Maciejowski
2023
Assistant Member
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Targeting the TREX1 Checkpoint to Improve Anti-Tumor Immunity

Lucia Borriello
Lucia Borriello
2023
Assistant Professor
Temple University – Of The Commonwealth System of Higher Education

Understanding the role of macrophages in tumor dormancy

Wings
Ghassan Mouneimne
2023
Associate Professor
University of Arizona

Targeting matrix stiffness to block invasion progression of ER+ breast cancer

Justin Milner
Justin Milner
2023
Assistant Professor
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Tailoring CAR-T Cell Activity for Triple Negative Breast Cancer

Vishal Chandra
Vishal Chandra
2023
Assistant Professor
University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center

Obesity Management Augmenting Endometrial Cancer prevention

Wings
Bodour Salhia
2023
Associate Professor
University of Southern California

The development of OvaPrint, a cell-free DNA methylation test for the early detection of high-grade serious ovarian cancer

Marina Sharifi
Marina Sharifi
2023
Assistant Professor
The University of Wisconsin – Madison School of Medicine and Public Health

Identifying molecular drivers of PI3K inhibitor resistance in metastatic breast cancer via liquid biopsy

Isaac Chan
Isaac Chan
2023
Assistant Professor
UT Southwestern Medical Center

Using natural killer cells to treat metastatic breast cancer

Matthew Greenblatt
Matthew Greenblatt
2023
Associate Professor
Weill Medical College of Cornell University

New Approaches to Target Vertebral Metastases in Breast Cancer

2022 Cancer Research Grant Recipients

Brown University Xiaoqun Dong
Dr. Xiaoqun Dong
2022
ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF MEDICINE
BROWN UNIVERSITY

Armored TRUCK Runs Over Breast Cancer

Andrey Ivanov _ Emory University
Dr. Andrey Ivanov
2022
EMORY UNIVERSITY
ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, DEPARTMENT OF PHARMACOLOGY & CHEMICAL BIOLOGY

Targeting MKK3-MYC complex to reduce racial survival disparity in breast cancer

JohnsHopkins_Marikki Laiho
Dr. Marikki Laiho
2022
PROFESSOR OF RADIATION ONCOLOGY & ONCOLOGY
JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY

Rewiring of splicing programs in endometrial and ovarian cancers by new therapeutic agents

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center_Bakhoum
Dr. Samuel Bakhoum
2022
ASSISTANT MEMBER, HUMAN ONCOLOGY & PATHOGENESIS PROGRAM; ASST. ATTENDING, DEPT. OF RADIATION ONCOLOGY
MEMORIAL SLOAN KETTERING CANCER CENTER

Examining the link between chromosomal instability and epigenetic alterations in High-Grade Serous Ovarian Cancer

Krzysztof Geras NYU
Dr. Krzysztof Geras
2022
ASSISTANT PROFESSOR
NYU GROSSMAN SCHOOL OF MEDICINE

Artificial Intelligence for Multi-Modal Breast Cancer Diagnosis

Penn State Gail Matters
Dr. Gail Matters
2022
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF BIOCHEMISTRY & MOLECULAR BIOLOGY
PENN STATE COLLEGE OF MEDICINE

Detecting bone metastatic breast cancer by nanoparticle enhanced MRI

UCIrvine_Gina Lee
Dr. Gina Lee
2022
ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF MICROBIOLOGY & MOLECULAR GENETICS
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA IRVINE, SCHOOL OF MEDICINE

Targeting estrogen-eIF4A intersection in women’s LAM tumors

University of Tennessee Health Science Center_Seagroves
Dr. Tiffany Seagroves
2022
PROFESSOR OF PATHOLOGY
UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE HEALTH SCIENCE CENTER

Targeting Creatine Kinase Brain Isoform (CKB) to Improve Survival from Breast Cancer Brain Metastasis

UT Southwestern Medical Center _ Diego Castrillon
Dr. Diego Castrillon
2022
PROFESSOR, DEPARTMENT OF PATHOLOGY
UT SOUTHWESTERN MEDICAL CENTER

Understanding the Initiation of Endometrial Cancer

Washington University_Priyanka Verma
Dr. Priyanka Verma
2022
ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF MEDICINE
WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE IN ST. LOUIS

Inhibition of ALC1 ATPase activity as a new synthetic lethal strategy for BRCA-mutant cancers

2021 Cancer Research Grant Recipients

Wings
Dr. Liron Bar-Peled
2021
Assistant Professor
The General Hospital Corporation d/b/a Massachusetts General Hospital

Chemical Proteomic Identification of Druggable Vulnerabilities in Ovarian Cancer

University of Indiana Elliot Androphy
Dr. Elliot Androphy
2021
KAMPEN-NORINS PROFESSOR CHAIR, DEPARTMENT OF DERMATOLOGY
INDIANA UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE

Pharmacology of human papillomavirus inhibitory compounds in mice

NYU Itai Yanai
Dr. Itai Yanai
2021
Professor
NEW YORK UNIVERSITY GROSSMAN SCHOOL OF MEDICINE

Targeting treatment-resistant ovarian cancer cell states

Dr. Sandra Orsulic
Dr. Sandra Orsulic
2021
Professor in Residence
UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine

Implantable “Tumor Trap” for Metastatic Cancer Cells

Stanford Gerald Crabtree
Dr. Gerald Crabtree
2021
Professor
The Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University

Hijacking the Estrogen Receptor to Activate Apoptotic Pathways in ER-Positive Breast Cancer

Tufts University_Karl Munger
Dr. Karl Munger
2021
PROFESSOR AND CHAIR, DEPARTMENT OF DEVELOPMENTAL, MOLECULAR AND CHEMICAL BIOLOGY
Tufts University School of Medicine

Towards Predictive Biomarkers in Cervical Cancer: Determining Carcinogenic Activities of E6 Oncogene Variants Detected in HPV16 Infected Women

University of South Carolina Ozgar Sahin
Dr. Ozgur Sahin
2021
Associate Professor
UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA College of Pharmacy

Enhancing the efficacy of antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) therapy in aggressive breast cancers

University of Wisconsin Beth Weaver
Dr. Beth Weaver
2021
Associate Professor
University of Wisconsin – Madison School of Medicine & Public Health

Chromosomal instability as a marker of paclitaxel response in breast cancer

UT Southwestern Esra Akbay
Dr. Esra Akbay
2021
Assistant Professor
UT SOUTHWESTERN Medical Center

Targeting telomerase to modulate tumor immune microenvironment in endometrial cancer

Wistar Institute Altieri
Dr. Dario Altieri
2021
DIRECTOR, THE WISTAR INSTITUTE CANCER CENTER
THE WISTAR INSTITUTE

Therapeutic Targeting of ILK in Breast Cancer

International Postdoctoral Scholars in Cancer Research Fellowship

China Dr. Liu
Dr. Hong-Yi Liu
China

Dr. Liu’s research focuses on a novel class of small proteins called micropeptides in relation to Triple Negative Breast Cancer. She believes that incorrectly made micropeptides contribute to treatment resistance in some TNBCs. By comparing all of the micropeptides being made in treatment-resistant versus treatment-responding TNBC cells, Dr. Liu has identified several micropeptide candidates that may contribute to treatment resistance. When she interfered with one of those micropeptides, the treatment-resistant cancer cells were once again able to respond to a traditional chemotherapy drug used in TNBC. She is currently doing further experiments to validate these exciting findings.

Spain Dr. del Rosario Chica Parrado
Dr. Maria Del Rosario Chica Parrado
Spain

Dr. Chica Parrado’s research focuses on understanding how changes to a cellular signaling pathway contribute to resistance to standard therapies in ER+ metastatic breast cancer. This pathway seems to be overactive in treatment-resistant ER+ breast cancers. She is using tumor samples from patients with treatment-resistant ER+ breast cancer to create miniature 3D tumors in the lab, called organoids. These tumor organoids can be used to study the exact changes and mechanisms that led to drug resistance, as well as to identify therapeutic strategies to overcome resistance.

Wings
Dr. Dongqui Xie
China

Dr. Xie received his doctorate from Tsinghua University in Beijing, China in 2021 and joined the lab of Beatriz Fontoura, Ph.D., Professor of Cell Biology, in 2022. Dr. Xie’s research project aims to reveal the architecture of nuclear speckles and their functions in pre-mRNA splicing and mRNA nuclear export. The Fontoura laboratory has recently shown that a specific protein, TAO2 kinase, is a key regulator of nuclear speckle morphology and function in splicing and nuclear export of mRNA. One of the interacting partners of TAO2 kinase is the RNA binding proteins hnRNPH1&2 proteins. Dr. Xie has recently uncovered novel functions for the hnRNPH proteins as novel constituents of nuclear speckles that mediate pre-mRNA splicing and nuclear export of mRNAs to the cytoplasm. As the center of a splicing oncogenic switch, hnRNPH is upregulated in different cancer cells including gliomas, chronic myeloid leukemia, and in breast cancer cells. This upregulation is proposed to promote proliferation, migration, and invasion of tumor cells. Revealing the molecular mechanism of how hnRNPH proteins regulate RNA splicing and nuclear export may provide insights into potential new therapeutic targets. In addition to his research, Dr. Xie has participated in multiple professional development workshops including a workshop on National Institutes of Health K99/R00 grant writing.

Wings
Dr. Pedro Nogueira
Brazil

Dr. Nogueira received his doctorate at State University of Campinas-UNICAMP in Sao Paulo, Brazil in 2022 and joined the lab of Maralice Conacci-Sorrell, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Cell Biology. Throughout his undergraduate and master’s studies, he directed his scientific efforts to the cellular and molecular mechanisms of neurobiology in obesity, aiming at improving patient treatment. He investigated the role of hypothalamic astrocytes treated with saturated fatty acid in vitro and how hypothalamic astrocytes from diet-induced obese mice react to treatment with physical activity. During his Ph.D. training, he characterized new therapeutic targets for obesity treatment, based on G protein-coupled receptors in the hypothalamic melanocortin system, focusing on physiological effects and cellular metabolism. As a postdoctoral researcher at UT Southwestern, he plans on using mouse models to define how increased tryptophan uptake by cancer cells affects the levels of serotonin, a product of tryptophan, in the central nervous system. His long-term goal is to characterize the systemic effects of cancer in nutrient metabolism in different tissues, with the goal of developing new strategies to improve the quality of life of patients living with liver cancer. During his time at UT Southwestern he has already submitted a manuscript, which is under consideration at Nature Communications and is preparing to submit a second. He is also collaborating with another lab at UT Southwestern to develop a clear tissue immunofluorescence technique with the goal of gaining a better understanding of colocalization with structural proteins and cell types. Specifically, he is working on applying this technique to the liver of genetically engineered mice that have been modified to express the MYC oncogene.

Wings
Dr. Debora Andrade Silva
Brazil

Dr. Silva received her doctorate from the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil in 2021 and will join the lab of Jennifer Kohler, Ph.D., Professor of Biochemistry in July 2023. Dr. Silva’s project will involve the role of hyposialytion in malignancies associated with RUNX1 expression. Hypersialyation occurs commonly in cancer and knowledge about the mechanisms of the changes in sialyation (the addition of sialic acid residues to glycoconjugates) and how to restore normal levels could be potential cancer therapeutic approaches.

Wings
Dr. Quan Wang
China

Dr. Wang received his doctorate from Shanghai Jiao Tong University in Shanghai, China in 2023 and will join the lab of Jinming Gao, Ph.D., Professor of Cell Biology in August 2023. During his Ph.D. training, Dr. Wang’s research centered on nanomedicine for atherosclerosis/tumor therapy. He is interested in applying polymer science and bioengineering skills in tumor immunology for cancer immunotherapy. To date, he has published 13 papers in the Science Citation Index, including Biomaterials, Journal of Controlled Release, Advanced Healthcare Materials, and ACS Biomaterials Science and Engineering as the first author. He hopes to make outstanding contributions in developing new technologies against many types of cancer (e.g., lung cancer and breast cancer) with his polymer therapeutics background under Dr. Gao’s supervision.