Damon Runyon Most cancers Analysis Basis declares latest cohort of Fellows and Breakthrough Scientists



The Damon Runyon Most cancers Analysis Basis has introduced its latest cohort of Damon Runyon Fellows, 13 excellent postdoctoral scientists conducting primary and translational most cancers analysis within the laboratories of main senior investigators. This prestigious, four-year Fellowship encourages the nation’s most promising younger scientists to pursue careers in most cancers analysis by offering them with impartial funding ($231,000 complete) to work on progressive tasks.

The Committee additionally chosen six new recipients of the Damon Runyon-Dale F. Frey Award for Breakthrough Scientists. This award acknowledges Damon Runyon Fellows who’ve exceeded the Basis’s highest expectations and are most definitely to make paradigm-shifting breakthroughs that remodel the best way we forestall, diagnose, and deal with most cancers. To catapult their analysis careers-;and their impact-;Damon Runyon makes a further funding of $100,000 in these distinctive people.

Being awarded the Dale F. Frey Breakthrough Scientist Award will permit me to take dangers that I in any other case would not have. That features increasing into new approaches for me, like single molecule biophysics and useful genomics-;and buying important tools that has been held up by provide chain shortages!”


Allison Didychuk, PhD

Study in regards to the new Fellows and Breakthrough Scientists under.

2022 recipients of the Damon Runyon-Dale F. Frey Award for Breakthrough Scientists:

Robert S. Banh, PhD, New York College Grossman Faculty of Medication, New York

“Codon- and nutrient-specific regulation of mRNA translation in pancreatic most cancers”

In response to nutrient modifications within the surroundings, pancreatic most cancers cells can modify the speed of mRNA translation to selectively regulate the speed of protein manufacturing. Nevertheless, the precise codons-;the trinucleotide sequences that correspond to particular amino acids-;and regulatory mechanisms used will not be recognized. Dr. Banh’s analysis goals to decipher the legal guidelines governing how codons regulate mRNA translation in response to the nutrient surroundings in pancreatic cancers. As most cancers cells have many codon-altering mutations and are continually adapting to modifications within the nutrient surroundings, these research will supply perception into tumor evolution and should uncover novel therapeutic methods for pancreatic and different most cancers sufferers.

Allison L. Didychuk, PhD, College of California, Berkeley

New place: Assistant Professor at Yale College (beginning 7/1/2022)

“Viral mimics of host transcription elements in oncogenic herpesviruses”

Kaposi’s sarcoma herpesvirus (KSHV) is a human oncogenic virus and the causative agent of cancers together with Kaposi’s sarcoma, major effusion lymphoma, and Multicentric Castleman illness. The associated human herpesvirus Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) is much more prevalent than KSHV, and is linked to cancers together with Burkitt’s lymphoma, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Dr. Didychuk is investigating the mechanisms by which KSHV co-opts the mobile host equipment to supply its personal gene merchandise in a fashion distinct from different viruses and host cells. A molecular understanding of how herpesviruses hijack the late gene transcription equipment will reveal new therapeutic weaknesses within the viral lifecycle and permit for structure-guided design of novel anti-viral drug targets.

Christopher P. Lapointe, PhD, Stanford College, Stanford

“Basic mechanisms that underlie human translation initiation and its dysregulation in most cancers”

Dr. Lapointe research how the synthesis of proteins (translation) is managed, as dysregulated translation is a ubiquitous characteristic of most cancers. He’s targeted on a key query: how regulation that originates on the “tail” finish of a messenger RNA (mRNA) impacts the beginning of translation, which happens close to the start of the mRNA. His objective is to disclose and analyze pathways that underlie this elementary mechanism to manage gene expression. Utilizing an built-in strategy of single-molecule fluorescence microscopy, structural, and biochemical methods, this analysis will yield necessary insights into how translation is exactly regulated and the way it’s disrupted in a wide selection of cancers.

Dian Yang, PhD, Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Analysis, Cambridge

“Dissecting intratumoral heterogeneity and hierarchy at single cell decision”

Dr. Yang is inspecting tumor heterogeneity seeking new diagnostic markers and potential therapeutic targets. A tumor consists of not solely most cancers cells, but in addition immune cells, fibroblasts, and different stromal elements. The various cell sorts and cell states that type the tumor microenvironment (TME) could promote illness development and result in therapeutic resistance. Dr. Yang goals to uncover elementary rules of tumor evolution by producing a complete and quantitative “visitors map” of most cancers cell state transitions and health modifications throughout tumor improvement. Understanding this elementary query has the potential to disclose key biomarkers that predict therapy response and actionable targets that drive resistance, thereby opening up new prospects for long-lasting, multilayered tumor management.

Xiaoyu Zhang, PhD, Northwestern College, Evanston

“Discovery of chemical probes that assist focused protein degradation in human most cancers”

Dr. Zhang is creating small molecules that promote focused protein degradation in human cancers. Typical small molecule anticancer medication act by immediately inhibiting the capabilities of proteins. Though focused most cancers therapies have been profitable in recent times, many oncogenic proteins are nonetheless thought of “undruggable” as a result of the traditional drug design technique fails to intervene with these proteins. One method to goal “undruggable” oncogenic proteins could also be to create a brand new sort of small molecule that delivers these proteins to the mobile degradation system, thereby selling their destruction. By integrating chemical instruments, proteomic platforms, and molecular biology approaches, Dr. Zhang goals to develop protein degraders as a brand new drug modality to develop therapy alternatives in human most cancers.

Xin Zhou, PhD, College of California, San Francisco

New place: Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical Faculty/Dana-Farber Most cancers Institute (beginning 3/1/2022)

“Engineering next-generation strategies to review and perturb protein post-translational modifications”

Antibodies, vaccines, checkpoint inhibitors, and CAR-T cells have all been profitable in leveraging the immune system in opposition to illness, however these therapy methods nonetheless have limitations. Dr. Zhou is designing new macromolecules to direct the immune response to most cancers. She plans to engineer dynamic, useful proteins that reply to particular protein post-translational modifications, conformations, or complexes. She hypothesizes that these conditionally activated proteins will have the ability to acknowledge cancer-specific antigens, drive protein-protein or protein-substrate interactions, or assist construct artificial cell signaling pathways, and due to this fact may be harnessed to enact particular anti-tumor responses.

November 2021 Damon Runyon Fellows:

Charles H. Adelmann, PhD, along with his sponsor David E. Fisher, MD, PhD, at Massachusetts Common Hospital, Boston

Pores and skin most cancers is the commonest sort of most cancers worldwide, and solar publicity is understood to be one of many principal threat elements for creating pores and skin cancers. Melanin pigment offers our hair, eyes, and pores and skin their shade, and it additionally shields pores and skin cells from the carcinogenic results of solar publicity. Combining only one enzyme (tyrosinase) and two substrates (oxygen and tyrosine) within the lab leads to the era of melanin-;but we all know that dozens of different proteins have an effect on pigmentation in people. How does a course of that requires so few elements in vitro make the most of these different elements within the human physique? Dr. Adelmann’s work focuses on the mobile and biochemical contributors to human pigmentation, a clearer understanding of which can facilitate chemopreventative interventions for pores and skin most cancers that manipulate or mimic the anti-cancer properties of pigmentation. Dr. Adelmann acquired his PhD from Massachusetts Institute of Expertise and his BA from Rice College.

Rico C. Ardy, PhD [Robert Black Fellow], along with his sponsor Thomas Norman, PhD, at Memorial Sloan Kettering Most cancers Middle, New York

Dr. Ardy is investigating the genetic determinants that govern the habits of fibroblasts, a kind of connective tissue cell that has been implicated in arthritis, coronary heart illness, and most cancers. Activated fibroblasts can exacerbate illness by numerous mechanisms, together with reworking tissue structure and modulating the immune system. Dr. Ardy plans on utilizing state-of-the-art genetic instruments, together with CRISPR inhibition and activation coupled with single-cell RNA sequencing know-how, to uncover the proteins and pathways that regulate fibroblast habits and thereby inform the event of recent focused most cancers remedies. Dr. Ardy acquired his PhD from the Medical College of Vienna and his BS from the College of California, Los Angeles.

Debadrita Bhattacharya, PhD [Robert Black Fellow], along with her sponsor Julien Sage, PhD, at Stanford College Faculty of Medication, Stanford

Intra-tumoral heterogeneity (ITH), or the evolution of distinct cell sorts inside a tumor, underlies most deadly options of most cancers and presents an incredible therapeutic problem. Utilizing small cell lung most cancers (SCLC), a extremely heterogeneous and deadly type of lung most cancers, as a mannequin, Dr. Bhattacharya will examine how ITH arises throughout most cancers development. She’s going to make use of rising genomics methods to characterize the mobile subtypes that comprise SCLC tumors and establish “druggable” transcription elements which, if focused, may scale back tumor heterogeneity on this most cancers. By profiling 1000’s of cells from treatment-naïve and therapy-resistant tumors, Dr. Bhattacharya goals to establish the “master-regulators” of the mobile subtypes that develop upon therapy in SCLC. She’s going to then consider the position of those elements in human patient-derived cell strains, with the objective of uncovering novel mechanisms underlying ITH in human cancers. Dr. Bhattacharya acquired her PhD from Cornell College and her BS from the College of Calcutta.

Felix C. Boos, PhD, along with his sponsor Anne Brunet, PhD, at Stanford College, Stanford

Proof that getting older is pushed by outlined, regulated processes (somewhat than easy “put on and tear”) has sparked hope that we would goal these processes to struggle age-related illnesses. A very thrilling instance is the regulation of protein homeostasis, or the stability between protein synthesis, folding, and degradation. Protein homeostasis is deregulated in each most cancers and regular getting older, however the underlying mechanisms stay elusive. Dr. Boos will use the short-lived African turquoise killifish as a brand new mannequin organism to review how totally different cells and tissues reply to protein misfolding, how they coordinate their responses, and the way getting older influences these pathways. This analysis won’t solely unravel elementary mechanisms of getting older, but in addition inform new methods to struggle a number of varieties of most cancers. Dr. Boos acquired his PhD and his B.Ed. from the College of Kaiserslautern.

Fangtao Chi, PhD, along with his sponsor Ömer H. Yilmaz, MD, PhD, at Massachusetts Institute of Expertise, Cambridge

Dietary interventions resembling caloric restriction (CR) and ketogenic food regimen (KD) are reported to restrict tumor progress partially by modulating stem cell operate. The gut capabilities as the principle organ of nutrient absorption and, because of speedy tissue renewal by way of intestinal stem cells (ISCs), is delicate to shifts within the physique’s metabolic state earlier than and after consuming. Each CR and KD situations dramatically improve the exercise of an enzyme in ISCs often known as HMGCS2. This enzyme controls ketogenesis, the conversion of fatty acids into ketone our bodies as a way of manufacturing vitality when glucose is unavailable. Dr. Chi goals to dissect the position of ketone physique metabolites in modulating intestinal stem cell operate and tumor progress. With a greater understanding of how intestinal stem cells adapt to various diets, he hopes to establish new methods or dietary interventions that forestall and scale back the expansion of cancers within the intestinal tract. Dr. Chi acquired his PhD from the College of California, Los Angeles and his BS from Zhejiang College.

Edward M. C. Courvan, PhD [HHMI Fellow], along with his sponsor Roy R. Parker, PhD, at College of Colorado, Boulder

Macrophages are specialised immune cells accountable for “consuming” dangerous cells, presenting antigens to T cells, and initiating irritation by releasing signaling molecules known as cytokines. Macrophages may doubtlessly be activated to assault tumor cells, however for causes which are presently unclear, they as an alternative sign for the tumor to develop quicker and turn into extra invasive. Dr. Courvan is investigating how macrophages reply to the low-oxygen surroundings inside tumors, and particularly how they regulate gene expression by post-transcriptional mechanisms in low-oxygen situations. With this analysis, he hopes to uncover new methods to leverage the physique’s immune system in opposition to cancerous cells. Dr. Courvan acquired his PhD from Yale College and his BS from the College of Connecticut.

Elizabeth R. Hughes, PhD [Robert Black Fellow], along with her sponsor Raphael H. Valdivia, PhD, at Duke College Faculty of Medication, Durham

Immune checkpoint inhibitors, a kind of most cancers therapy that helps immune cells establish and kill tumor cells, have been a significant breakthrough within the therapy of many most cancers sorts. Sadly, not all sufferers reply to this immunotherapy. Dr. Hughes is finding out how intestine microbes enhance response to immune checkpoint inhibitors. The bacterium Akkermansia muciniphila lives within the gastrointestinal tract and has been proven to enhance response to immune checkpoint inhibitors by way of poorly understood mechanisms. Dr. Hughes goals to find how A. muciniphila improves response to most cancers immunotherapies and to design microbe-based therapeutic methods that can additional improve most cancers immunotherapy responses. Dr Hughes acquired her PhD from UT Southwestern Medical Middle and her BS from Baylor College.

Henry R. Kilgore, PhD, along with his sponsor Richard A. Younger, PhD, at Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Analysis, Cambridge

Cells are compartmentalized into membrane-bound and membrane-less organelles, offering spatial construction to the cell’s focus of proteins and nucleic acids. Dr. Kilgore’s analysis goals to know the surroundings inside totally different organelles and apply this information to the event of focused most cancers therapies, as higher concentrating on throughout the cell will enhance drug efficacy, improve efficiency, and reduce unwanted effects. Utilizing each stay cells and reductionist fashions, he’ll examine how molecules distribute themselves throughout the cell as a operate of their chemical properties. Studying and making use of the chemical grammar of this spatial partitioning will allow the design and preparation of molecular probes and medicines that synergize with the chemistry of the cell as a mechanism of treating all cancers. Dr. Kilgore acquired his PhD from Massachusetts Institute of Expertise and his BS from the College of California, Berkeley.

Siqi Li, PhD [The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research Fellow], along with her sponsor Slobodan Beronja, PhD, at Fred Hutchinson Most cancers Analysis Middle, Seattle

Dr. Li research signaling occasions regulating the competitors between cells carrying cancer-causing mutations and regular cells throughout most cancers initiation. Earlier research have proven that intercellular signaling between mutant and regular cells may regulate the proliferation of those cells and form the end result of most cancers initiation. Dr. Li is adapting novel instruments to establish what molecular cues are mediating this crosstalk and the way they contribute to most cancers progress in mouse pores and skin. Understanding these occasions could information the event of most cancers prevention methods that limit the early growth of mutant cell strains in pores and skin and different tissues. Dr. Li acquired her PhD from Duke College and her BS from Tsinghua College.

Ngoc-Han Tran, PhD, along with her sponsor Ruth Lehmann, PhD, at Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Analysis, Cambridge

Cell division is usually described when it comes to the inheritance of DNA. An equally necessary however much less understood process of cell division is the distribution of mobile machineries accountable for decoding the genome. Dr. Tran research how the cell’s main protein manufacturing manufacturing facility, the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), is handed down by the germ cells that give rise to sperm and eggs. She is investigating whether or not ER inheritance performs a job in endowing germ cells with their distinctive properties, resembling immortality and the flexibility to generate a brand new organism. Most cancers cells, extra so than their wholesome neighbors, are extremely depending on the ER to supply constructing blocks to gasoline their speedy progress. In addition they incessantly tweak ER high quality management mechanisms to keep away from programmed cell loss of life, usually triggered in cells experiencing persistent ER stress. As a result of the ER performs various roles in wholesome cells and is incessantly dysregulated in most cancers, Dr. Tran’s efforts to know primary ER biology and its inheritance inside germ cells will contribute to the collective efforts to deal with this heterogeneous illness. Dr. Tran acquired her PhD from the College of California, San Francisco and her BS from San Jose State College.

Catherine Triandafillou, PhD, along with her sponsor Daniel F. Jarosz, PhD, at Stanford College Faculty of Medication, Stanford

One of many instruments most cancers cells make use of to evade immune system detection is an elevated DNA mutation fee, with some cancers mutating 100-1000 instances quicker than wholesome tissue. Basic research of the consequences of mutations predict that the majority genetic modifications are deleterious, but excessive mutation charges seem to assist most cancers cells adapt and invade. Dr. Triandafillou will deal with this paradox by utilizing a single-cell mannequin of most cancers to measure the consequences of mutations with a lot larger accuracy and backbone than is feasible in stay most cancers cells. This data will assist us perceive how most cancers cells stability deleterious mutations with the flexibility to adapt, and the way the consequences of mutations work together. She may even carry out laboratory evolution experiments to trace the adaptive course of in numerous environmental situations, mimicking the method by which most cancers cells are capable of colonize new micro-environments inside tumors and all through the physique. This work will present a clearer image of how most cancers cells use new mutations to proliferate. Dr. Triandafillou acquired her PhD from the College of Chicago and her BS from Temple College.

Patrick J. Woida, PhD, along with his sponsor Rebecca Lamason, PhD, at Massachusetts Institute of Expertise, Cambridge

Dr. Woida research the foodborne pathogens Listeria monocytogenes and Shigella flexneri that enter and replicate inside human cells. These micro organism additionally immediately infect neighboring cells by pushing in opposition to the host cell membrane to type lengthy membrane protrusions that reach and finally launch the micro organism into the brand new cell. This technique of cell-to-cell unfold requires the micro organism to hijack intercellular signaling pathways to reshape the host cell membrane. These signaling pathways usually regulate human cell adhesion and motility, and their dysregulation promotes tumor progress and metastasis. Dr. Woida’s objective is to uncover the distinctive mechanisms by which these pathogens transform the host cell membrane to achieve perception into how the co-opted intercellular signaling pathways operate beneath each wholesome situations and tumor development. Dr. Woida acquired his PhD from Northwestern College and his BS from the College of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Zeda Zhang, PhD [HHMI Fellow], along with his sponsor Scott W. Lowe, PhD, at Memorial Sloan Kettering Most cancers Middle, New York

On the mobile stage, getting older manifests as mobile senescence-;when cells completely cease multiplying however don’t die. Aberrant accumulation of senescent cells is considered a significant contributor to age-dependent tissue degeneration and its related pathologies. Elimination of senescent cells has been proven to enhance age-associated tissue harm pathologies and prolong wholesome lifespan in mice. Senescent cells endure in depth reworking on their floor, together with elevated manufacturing of many floor proteins. Dr. Zhang is utilizing a quantitative proteomics strategy to research the mechanisms and organic penalties of cell floor reworking in senescent cells. His objective is to establish new therapeutic targets on the senescent cell floor and develop next-generation chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells and antibodies to guage their affect on age-related illnesses. Success with this strategy could have a transformative affect on treating life-threatening illnesses like most cancers, fibrosis, and atherosclerosis. Dr. Zhang acquired his PhD from Gerstner Sloan Kettering Graduate Faculty and his BS from Solar Yat-Sen College.

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