Valerie Coffman, PhD
Mentor – Adriana T. Dawes, PhD
Project – Mechanical modeling of directed pronuclear migration and rotation in the early C. elegans embryo
Summary - Evaluate how a cell organizes itself so that each cell division results in healthy daughter cells, rather than cells with genetic or compositional abnormalities that could result in over-proliferation leading to cancer.
HongSheng Dai, PhD
Mentor – Michael Caligiuri, MD
Project – Potentiating oncolytic virotherapy through a systemic study of the interaction between oHSV1 viral proteins and Natural Killer cells
Summary - Learn how NK cells, a specialized group of immune cells, recognize and limit herpesvirus infection. This information will be applied to improve herpesvirus-based therapy for brain tumor.
James Dowdle, PhD
Mentor – Gustavo Leone, PhD
Project – The Molecular Basis for Variable Penetrance in Rb Mutant Cancer
Summary - To examine why specific cancer causing mutations lead to cancer 100% of the time while other mutations only lead to cancer in a proportion of cases. This knowledge would be invaluable in assessing risk and developing proper treatment plans for patients.
Senthil Damodaran, PhD
Mentor – Sameek Roychowdhury, MD, PhD
Project – Genomic and proteomic alterations mediate secondary resistance to fibroblast growth factor receptor targeting
Summary - Evaluate how cancer cells become resistant to the use of “smart” drugs that specifically block the fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR), a protein that promotes the growth of cancer cells. This information would help devise rational drug combinations and thus improve cancer treatment.
Anna Tessari, PhD
Mentor – Carlo Maria Croce, MD
Project – Role of microRNAs in gemcitabine resistant metastatic breast cancer
Summary - Develop a molecular signature that will be used to select patients with advanced Breast Cancer to receive a chemotherapeutic drug named gemcitabine. The signature will be based on the expression of small molecules named microRNAs both in tumor samples and in patients’ blood, and would represent an important clinical instrument for the selection of patients that could benefit from gemcitabine, in the future perspective of personalized medicine.