2011 Graduate Pelotonia Fellows

Yadwinder S Deol
Graduate program: Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology
Mentor: Ramesh Ganju, PhD, College of Medicine, Department of Pathology
Project: Role of S100A7 in estrogen receptor positive cancers
Project Summary: Evaluate the role of S100A7 protein in estrogen receptor positive and tamoxifen resistant breast tumors. This study may help in developing novel drugs for the treatment of hormone or endocrine resistant breast tumors.

Meera Govindaraghavan
Graduate program: Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology
Mentor: Stephen Osmani, PhD, College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Molecular Genetics
Project: Understanding the functional relationship between mitotic protein phosphorylation and methylation as a basis for development of novel chemotherapies
Project Summary: The division of cells to generate identical daughter cells is a fundamental process essential for life, yet how this process is accomplished is not completely understood. Errors in cell division contribute to the progression of all cancers and this project aims to understand the essential role of two proteins, NIMA and Set1 in regulating normal cell division. The expected findings will provide new insights into tumorigenesis and identify potential chemotherapeutic targets.

Patrick Grierson
Graduate program: Medical Scientist Training (MSTP)
Mentor: Joanna Groden, PhD, College of Medicine, Department of Molecular Virology, Immunology & Medical Genetics
Project: The BLM helicase facilitates RNA polymerase I-mediated ribosomal RNA transcription; implications for cell growth rate control
Project Summary: The ability of cancer cells to synthesize protein is absolutely required for their growth and division. My project investigates a role for the BLM protein in regulating the protein synthesis potential of cancer cells. The results of this project will be relevant to all cancers, as we will gain insight into how cells regulate their ability to make protein and thus their growth and division.

Kara Kliewer
Graduate program: The Ohio State University Nutrition PhD Program
Mentor: Martha Belury, PhD, College of Education and Human Ecology, Department of Human Nutrition
Project: Mechanisms of lipolysis and lipid utilization in adipose tissue in cancer cachexia
Project Summary: Learn how and why body weight decreases so rapidly and dramatically in cancer. This may lead to drugs and dietary approaches that improve metabolism and prevent weight loss so that patients feel stronger and better tolerate cancer treatments.

Christopher R. Lucas
Graduate program: Integrated Biomedical Science Graduate Program (IBGP)
Mentor: Virginia Sanders, PhD, College of Medicine, Department of Molecular Virology, Immunology & Medical Genetics
Project: Prohibitin-1, a potential Novel Therapeutic Target in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
Project Summary: Determine the role of a molecule called prohibitin-1 in a blood cell cancer called chronic lymphocytic leukemia, an incurable, and the most common adult blood cell cancer in the United States. We believe that prohibitin-1 is helping cancer cells grow and survive. Information gained from this project will be used to improve therapy for patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

Katja Machemer
Graduate program: Molecular Genetics (MG)
Mentor: Erich Grotewold, PhD, College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Molecular Genetics
Project: Regulation of the plant development by MYB transcription factors
Project Summary: Gain further understanding of how transcription factors and their targets regulate cell division and cell cycle. This will help us better understand how healthy cells can turn into excessively dividing cancerous tissue.

James Phelan
Graduate program: Immunobiology Graduate Program
Mentor: H. Leighton Grimes, PhD, University of Cincinnati-College of Medicine, Department of Immunobiology
Project: Lymphoid malignancies critically require Growth factor independent 1 (Gfi1) for tumor initiation and maintenance
Project Summary: Most cancer research focuses upon cancer-causing proteins that are genetically altered in the tumor. Instead, we focused upon normal cellular proteins that a tumor might depend upon, and our results indicate that lymphoid leukemias are destroyed when we eliminate the expression of this single normal protein. We hope to determine the clinical relevance of our finding, with the long term goal of curing leukemia.

Chenguang Zhou
Graduate program: Pharmaceutics
Mentor: Robert Lee, PhD, College of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmaceutics
Project: Targeted Lipid and Surfactant Nanocarriers for Therapeutic Delivery of Anti-miR Oligos to Hepatocellular Cancer
Project Summary

Rachel Zielinski
Graduate program: Biomedical Engineering
Mentor: Samir Ghadiali, PhD, College of Engineering, Department of Biomedical Engineering
Project: The Role of Substrate Stiffness and Cell Mechanics in Epithelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition of Cancer Cells
Project Summary: Determine how tumor stiffness affects cancer cell detachment during the initiation of metastasis using experimental and computational techniques. These studies will provide a better understanding of how tumor stiffness could be used clinically to predict tumor metastatic potential and cancer aggressiveness.

Nicholas Zorko
Graduate program: Integrated Biomedical Science Graduate Program (IBGP)
Mentor: Michael Caligiuri, MD, College of Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine
Project: Analysis of Epigenetic Changes Leading to Leukemia Stem Cell Development in a Double Knock-in Mouse Model of Acute Myeloid Leukemia
Project Summary: Evaluate changes occurring over time in non-malignant blood cell populations that will eventually lead to generation of acute myeloid leukemia. The information derived from this project will play a key role in future development of less toxic therapies for this disease of the blood, which currently carries a poor prognosis.

The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James) 460 W. 10th Avenue, Columbus, OH 43210 Phone: 1-800-293-5066 | Email: jamesline@osumc.edu