2013 Undergraduate Pelotonia Fellows

David Arsanious David Arsanious
Major: Molecular Genetics
Mentor: Yuri Pekarsky, PhD
Project: The role of TCL1 on de novo DNA methylation in the pathogenesis of CLL
Project Summary​: This project will evaluate the interaction of a particular biological agent called Tcl1 with enzymes called Dnmt3A and Dnmt3B in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). These enzymes take part in carrying out reactions that change the chemical composition of stretches of DNA. This project will examine the effects of Tcl1 on Dnmt3A and Dnmt3B in causing these chemical changes in order to better understand how these molecules affect the development of CLL, which is the most common form of leukemia.

Kyle Beuoy Kyle Beuoy
Major: Biology
Mentor: Harold Fisk, PhD
Project: Determining if the binding between Mps1 and VDAC3 is necessary and sufficient for localization of Mps1 to the centrosome
Project Summary​: Determine if the interaction between a protein called Mps1 and a protein called VDAC3 is needed for correct movement of Mps1 within the cell. Incorrect Mps1 function has been shown to cause errors when making new cells, and also has been shown to be present in tumors.

Daniel Brook Daniel Brook
Major: Biomedical Science
Mentor: Michael A. Caligiuri, MD
Project: The effect of MLL-WT on the development of MLL-PTD+ Acute Myeloid Leukemia
Project Summary​: Evaluate two mutations commonly found together in human blood cancer. The results gathered from these experiments may be used to develop personalized treatments for patients with these particular mutations.

Katherine Chang Katherine Chang
Major: Biochemistry
Mentor: Thomas Ludwig, PhD
Project: Bard1 as a tumor suppressor and mediator of DNA repair
Project Summary​: Evaluate how a particular gene mutation found in many patients with breast cancer, Bard1, activates tumor development and disrupts DNA repair. This may provide insight into the multiple pathways essential to proper cell development and eventually, lead to cancer treatments directed at these pathways.

Julie Corbett Julie Corbett
Major: Biology
Mentor: A. Courtney DeVries, PhD
Project: Effect of minocycline on chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy
Project Summary​: Evaluate how an antibiotic called minocycline, can improve treatment of chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy. This project can lead to a better understanding of neuropathy and may also lead to a more effective treatment of many patients with breast cancer.

Rachel D'Amico Rachel D'Amico
Major: Biomedical Science
Mentor: Susan Cole, PhD
Project: DLL-3 as a potential tumor suppressor via inhibition of Notch-1 signaling in gliomas
Project Summary​: Learn how to make cells in glioma (brain cancer) more susceptible to current chemotherapeutic treatments by inhibiting the activity of the gene Notch-1. Notch-1 is necessary for brain cancer development, and we hope to discover if another gene, DLL-3 is able to block Notch-1 activity, so that brain cancer can become easier to treat.

Teena D'Cruz Teena D'Cruz
Major: Biomedical Science
Mentor: Gustavo Leone, PhD
Project: Defining retinoblastoma regulated pathways using bioinformatics approaches
Project Summary​: Create a public database containing all the genes of a certain gene regulator in order to gain a significant understanding of regulation in the context of cancer. This information will be used to supplement current research, investigate new ideas, and define specific pathways in cancer cells.

Eric Dobson Eric Dobson
Major: Biochemistry
Mentor: Josh Goldberger, PhD
Project: Creation and optimization of fluorescent self-assembling peptide amphiphiles for targeted cancer imaging
Project Summary​: Develop biocompatible molecules that join together as long fibers when they encounter a tumorous environment. Formation of these fibers may allow for enhanced accumulation of an imaging agent at the site of a tumor. I will also fluorescently tag these molecules to probe fiber formation in serum and to differentiate the imaging molecule from its environment.

Callie Drohan Callie Drohan
Major: Biomedical Science
Mentor: Robert Baiocchi, MD, PhD
Project: Investigation of direct anti-tumor activity and immune potentiating effects of the drug silvestrol on nasopharyngeal carcinoma
Project Summary​: Investigate how the drug silvestrol, a natural compound derived from the twigs, fruit and bark of the tropical tree Aglaia, works to inhibit tumor activity and help the immune system gain control over cancerous cells, specifically in nasopharyngeal carcinoma. This information will help move this agent toward clinical testing.

Cambree Fillis Cambree Fillis
Major: Pharmaceutical Sciences
Mentor: Helen Chamberlin, PhD
Project: The identification of tumor-suppresor-like genes responsible for the mediation of vulva development in the nematode species, C.briggsae
Project Summary​: My study will focus on identifying genes that are commonly found to cause cells to divide abnormally, similar to the formation of cancerous growths. Furthermore, I will investigate the cause of this irregular cell division in an effort to provide insight that will be beneficial to the creation and/or improvement of current cancer therapies.

Daniel Brook Christine Fung
Major: Biomedical Science
Mentor: A. Courtney DeVries, PhD
Project: Role of oxytocin in the activation of macrophages to an M2 phenotype in te tumor microenvironment
Project Summary​: Study how oxytocin, a hormone released during social interaction, affects the actions of immune cells that respond to tumor cells in breast tissue. This information could lead to methods of manipulating the immune system to better target tumor growth.

Markus Harrigan Markus Harrigan
Major: Biomedical Science
Mentor: Gustavo Leone, PhD
Project: Identifying stromal oncogene-type candidate genes in the KRAS mutant tumor microenvironment
Project Summary​: To identify and determine how genes in cells surrounding cancer cells contribute to pancreatic cancer progression and development. Once identified, these genes could be neutralized by new gene therapies that simultaneously target cells surrounding pancreatic cancer cells and the actual cancer cells.

Samantha King Samantha King
Major: Microbiology and Chemistry
Mentor: Gregory Lesinski, PhD
Project: Soy diet intervention : Determining the active phytochemical and diet effects on antigen spefific T-cells
Project Summary​: We will determine what chemical in soy promotes health of the immune system when given in the diet. Our lab believes that soy can alter white blood cells to better fight cancer. The result of these experiments will help to understand how exactly soy in the diet can turn on the immune system to better fight cancer in some people.

Michael Lause Michael Lause
Major: Biology
Mentor: Gustavo Leone, PhD
Project: mRNA profile of C.elegans vulval epithelium in response to stromal signals
Project Summary​: Evaluate the cells adjacent to a tumor in order to better understand the complex relationship that exists between the tumor and its surrounding environment. This may provide insight as to how these neighboring cells contribute to tumor formation and/or growth, while also exposing potential cancer therapies.

Zachary McKee Zachary McKee
Major: Molecular Genetics
Mentor: Deborah Parris, PhD
Project: High throughput assays for screening inhibitors of human cytomegalovirus alkaline nuclease UL98
Project Summary​: Human cytomegalovirus (CMV), a member of the herpesvirus family, can cause devastating infections in immunologically impaired people, such as cancer patients, transplant recipients, or unborn or recently born children. This project seeks to identify chemicals that inhibit the activity of a protein (the alkaline exonuclease UL98) important for CMV to grow and to determine precisely how the chemicals affect enzyme function. Since the alkaline nuclease gene is highly conserved among herpesviruses, it is possible that inhibitors identified could target other herpesviruses, such as the Epstein-Barr virus and Kaposi’s sarcoma virus, both of which are known to cause cancer.

John Nemer John Nemer
Major: Microbiology, Spanish
Mentor: Michael A. Caligiuri, MD
Project: Targeting the Role of DOT1L in MLLPTD Acute Myeloid Leukiemia
Project Summary​: Determine how a protein called DOT1L may contribute to the development and proliferation of acute myeloid leukemia, a cancer of the blood. Furthermore, investigate how an inhibitor of this particular protein may disrupt its activity and decrease the survival of cancerous cells. Together, these studies may possibly indicate the DOT1L inhibitor as a potential new therapy for patients of acute myeloid leukemia.

Hannah Parks Hannah Parks
Major: Biology
Mentor: Sameek Roychowdhury, MD, PhD
Project: Mechanisms of resistance for cancers with fusion kinases
Project Summary​: To study the resistance mechanisms in cell lines with fusion kinases by producing drug resistant colonies. We will then sequence parts of the DNA and RNA of the parent and resistant line to determine the secondary mechanism. This information will hopefully lead to a pattern, which will allow for combination drug therapy and will advance personalized medicine.

Ryan Reyes Ryan Reyes
Major: Biomedical Engineering
Mentor: Samson T. Jacob, PhD
Project: miR-23a: A key metabolic regulator in hepatocellular carcinoma
Project Summary​: Determine how the naturally occurring molecule called miR-23a can regulate energy metabolism in liver cancer cells. This may lead to the development of new therapeutic agents that target cancer by exploiting the differences in metabolism between normal and cancerous cells.

Mark Rudolph Mark Rudolph
Major: Biomedical Science
Mentor: Sarmila Majumder, PhD
Project: Solute carrier family protein SLC-39A6 is a novel target of aberrantly activated Hedgehog signaling pathway in endocrine resistant breast cancer
Project Summary​: Evaluate how the regulatory protein, GLI-1, leads to drug resistance in breast cancer. This study may lead to better, more personalized, therapy for patients whose cancer does not respond to initial endocrine therapy.

Cameron Sheehan Cameron Sheehan
Major: Biology
Mentor: Carlo Croce, MD
Project: The role of CLLD8 in chronic lymphocytic leukemia
Project Summary​: Determine the role of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Deleted Region Gene 8 (CLLD8) that has been found to deregulated in a subset of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), multiple myeloma, prostate cancer, and mantle cell lymphoma patients. Clarification of the function of CLLD8 will allow for diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic approaches for the treatment of these cancer patients.

Alexander Tranovich Alexander Tranovich
Major: Psychologyand Neuroscience
Mentor: Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, PhD
Project: Mental health and diet in cancer survivorship: Depression's relationship to diet quality
Project Summary​: This study will explore the relationship between depression and diet quality in breast cancer survivors. The study will examine whether depression predicts changes in diet quality over a one-year period. The results from this study may help to determine whether it is important to evaluate depression when recommending diet changes after cancer treatment.

Kelly Ward Kelly Ward
Major: Biology
Mentor: Helen Chamberlin, PhD
Project: Identification of C.briggase EGF pathway genes
Project Summary​: Understand how genes concerning the progression of cancer function in a common cancer pathway in two species of worms. The information learned can provide more knowledge on how to make it applicable to higher organisms such as humans.

Alexander Wells Alexandra Wells
Major: Nutrution
Mentor: Ouliana Ziouzenkova, PhD
Project: Effects of vitamin A metabolites on improving the action of mulitple myeloma pharmaceuticals
Project Summary​: Multiple myeloma remains an incurable blood cancer. I will be evaluating how vitamin A and its derivatives influence the action of drugs used to treat multiple myeloma. The results of this study will be used to improve the effectiveness of multiple myeloma treatment.

Edward Zitnik Edward Zitnik
Major: Molecular Genetics; Bosnian/Croation/Serbian and Slavic Studies
Mentor: Helen Chamberlin, PhD
Project: Examining the evolution of signal transduction pathways as a model for personalized medicine
Project Summary​: Evaluate the evolution of cell communication networks that are important in cancer development by comparing two closely-related species of nematode worms. Understanding the subtleties and variability in these networks can help improve targeted drug therapies when treating cancer patients.

Mike Zoller Mike Zoller
Major: Computer Science Engineering
Mentor: Ralf Bundschuh, PhD
Project: Analysis and optimization of currently unusable data to infer and to clincally correlate repeat-element methylation status in leukemia
Project Summary​: Develop algorithms to make use of currently discarded DNA sequencing data resulting from repeat elements in the human genome. This will uncover relevant information that will be used to help evaluate cancer aggressiveness, progression, recurrence, and response to therapy.

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