: Investigate how compounds of our diet, by interacting with specific human proteins, prevent breast cancer, the leading cause of cancer-related deaths among women. This study will help to improve prevention of cancer through nutrition.
: Learn how mutations in cell types that are found at the sites of tumor, modulate signaling within cancer cells to alter breast cancer progression. This study will provide an insight into critical events involved in cancer growth. This information will help us devise better strategies to combat tumorigenesis.
Graduate Program: Comparative and Veterinary Medicine
Mentor: William Kisseberth, DVM, MS & Cheryl London, DVM, PhD
Project: Characterization of miR-9 expression and activation in canine osteosarcoma
Investigate the expression and activation of a small regulatory RNA, miR-9, in osteosarcoma, a common form of bone cancer in children and dogs. These studies will determine how miR-9 alters cell behavior and how this contributes to the aggressive behavior of osteosarcoma. The identification of pathways affected by miR-9 will help to develop new, more effective treatments for both children and dogs affected by this disease.
Madelyn GerberGraduate Program:
Amanda Toland, PhDProject: Identification of AURKA- and PTPRJ- interaction Human Colorectal Cancer Susceptibility LociProject Summary
: The goal of this project is to identify genes that interact to promote colorectal cancer risk. By understanding how genes can work together to influence risk for colorectal cancer, we can better understand how these cancers arise and develop novel screening tools to predict individuals at increased risk for this disease.
Adam HinzeyGraduate Program:
Ann Courtney DeVries, PhDProject:Social Influences on the Breast Cancer MicroenvironmentProject Summary
: I plan to investigate how social isolation influences the cells within the breast to lead to more aggressive cancer. This may help us understand some of the wide variation in how cancer progresses in patients, and provide new therapeutic options for the treatment of breast cancer.
Muhtadi IslamGraduate Program:
Jeffrey Parvin, MD, PhDProject:Deep Mutagenesis of BRCA1 and Function in DNA RepairProject Summary
: Evaluate the DNA repair function of BRCA1 mutations and their associated cancer risk. This will aid patients with BRCA1 mutations that have unknown cancer association.
Monica LindgrenGraduate Program:
Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, PhDProject:Depression and Social Support: Implications for Treatment Adherence and Quality of Life Among Breast Cancer SurvivorsProject Summary
: Information on depression, social support, and quality of life will be collected throughout breast cancer treatment for insight into how women with and without past depression adjust to cancer across their disease course.
Joseph MarquardtGraduate Program:
Harold Fisk, PhDProject:The centrosomal localization of the kinase Mps1 is important for its function throughout the cell cycleProject Summary
: We study a protein called Mps1, an important regulator of different stages of the cell cycle, whose functions ensure the accurate transmission of genetic material to prevent cancer. Mps1 needs to localize to different structures in the cell to carry out its functions. Studying where it locates and at what times during the cell cycle can provide insight into new avenues of cancer prognosis and treatment.
Brian MaxwellGraduate Program:
Zucai Suo, PhDProject:Conformation Dynamics of Polymerase Switching during the Bypass of Mutagenic DNA LesionsProject Summary
: Our DNA is continuously subject to many types of damage, which can lead to mutations if the damage is not properly repaired. The goal of my research is to understand how the molecular motors that copy DNA move and interact with each other when encountering damaged DNA and to better understand how this process may be involved in cancer formation and in resistance to certain types of cancer therapy.
Mark NelsonGraduate Program:
John Lannutti, PhD and Timothy Eubank, PhDProject:Biomimetic Nanoscale Device for High-throughput Anti-metastatic Drug ScreeningProject Summary
: Our project seeks to develop and utilize engineered nanoscale tools for studies of tumor cell migration. We plan to examine migration in response to chemical ‘lures’ and immune system cells termed; tumor-associated macrophages (TAMS) that ‘help’ tumor cells migrate. Perfection of these tools may provide improved personalized patient treatment options to prevent cancer cell movement and disease progression throughout the body.
Komal RambaniGraduate Program:
Gustavo Leone, PhDProject:Identifying stroma-derived oncogenic signals and their potential as novel therapeutic targets in pancreatic cancerProject Summary
: Tumors are abnormal tissue growths composed of not only cancer cells but also other cell types known as stromal cells. In pancreatic cancer, stromal cells may represent up to 80% of the cells in the tumor. These neighboring stromal cells that surround the cancer cells support tumor growth and progression of cancer by means of continuous communication among them. However, not much is known about these interactions between tumor and surrounding cells. My project will identify novel genes in neighboring cells at a genome-wide scale that mediate their communication with cancer cells to support tumor initiation, growth and progression. Targeting the novel genes or the pathways in the surrounding stromal cells that support tumor growth will lead to more effective treatment regimens and improved clinical outcome of cancer patients.
Chaojie WangGraduate Program:
Matthew Ringel, MDProject:The role of RCAN1-4 as a tumor metastasis suppressor geneProject Summary
: Investigate how RCAN1-4, a gene identified from Down syndrome patients, functions to suppress tumor progression and metastasis. Discover novel metastatic suppression pathways using mouse models. This study will provide insights into how metastatic cancers could be treated.
Kang WeiGraduate Program:
Yi Zhao, PhDProject:Development of an adaptive electro-optofluidic laparoscope with switchable wide-angle two-dimension and three-dimension imaging for intra-abdominal tumor examination and resectionProject Summary
: Develop adaptive imaging components of a laparoscope that provide both wide-angle two-dimensional and three-dimensional visualization of the abdominal cavity during minimally invasive surgery. This may help both novice and expert surgeons better identify, evaluate and resect intra-abdominal tumors.
Jingyan WuGraduate Program:
Plant Cellular and Molecular GeneticsMentor:
Anita Hopper, PhDProject:Identification and characterization of novel genes involved in tRNA biogenesis, stability and subcellular movementProject Summary
: Understand how tRNAs, a type of small molecules that play important roles in cancer development, are produced and degraded in the cell and how they move around in the cell. This study will reveal novel genes involved in these processes and will aid in finding potential targets for disrupting tRNA production and trafficking in cancer treatment.
Helong ZhaoGraduate Program:
Ramesh Ganju, PhDProject:Role of slit-robo in LPS-induced endothelial inflammation and gastric/colorectal cancer angiogenesis and developmentProject Summary
: This study will analyze how bacteria in the stomach and colon can cause gastric cancer and colorectal cancer by inducing blood vessel inflammation. It will also explain how this cancer-causing event can be regulated by relevant human proteins.