UPMC Hillman Cancer Center Postdoctoral Fellowship

Hillman Postdoctoral Fellows for Innovative Cancer Research

Program Overview

UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, a National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, has launched an exciting new postdoctoral training opportunity at the University of Pittsburgh. Made possible by a donation from the Henry L. Hillman Foundation, the Hillman Postdoctoral Fellows for Innovative Cancer Research program seeks the nation’s top graduate students and early-stage postdoctoral fellows to pursue leading-edge cancer research in Hillman laboratories.

Fellows chosen for this highly selective program will receive a stipend 20% above the current NIH level and a generous career development fund, which can be applied toward research-related expenses, including purchase of a laptop and travel to national or international meetings.

A select group of applicants will be required to attend a special event to meet with prospective faculty mentors, at no personal cost. This event will be held in Pittsburgh in October 2018. Applicants who are selected as a Hillman Postdoctoral Fellow for Innovative Cancer Research will be notified of their award within six weeks of the event.

All Hillman Postdoctoral Fellows must possess a doctoral degree prior to their start date. Fellows will receive a renewable one-year appointment, but will be expected to apply for external funding that will be supplemented as necessary.

Faculty Mentors

Participating UPMC Hillman Cancer Center faculty mentors are all nationally and internationally recognized scientists with strong publication records, dynamic laboratories, and established track records of effective mentoring.

How to Apply

To apply to the Hillman Postdoctoral Fellows for Innovative Cancer Research program, please provide the following:

  1. Curriculum vitae
  2. A one-page description of your research interests and career goals
  3. PDF copies of all first author manuscripts
  4. Three (3) letters of recommendation (sent directly from referee)

Email all materials to Christopher Bakkenist, PhD, Associate Director for Education and Training, c/o Lola Thompson thompsonla3@upmc.edu.

Applications must be received by August 31, 2018.

Review and evaluation of applications will occur after receipt of all required materials.

The University of Pittsburgh is an Affirmative Action, Equal Opportunity Employer EEO/AA/M/F/Vets/Disabled.

Biobehavioral Oncology

Catherine Bender, PhD, RN, FAAN
Nancy Glunt Hoffman Endowed Chair in Oncology Nursing
Professor of Oncology Nursing, Health & Community Systems

Keywords:

  • Cognitive function of cancer patients
  • Exercise interventions
  • Breast cancer
  • Adherence to cancer therapy

Research:

Dr. Bender’s two areas of research interest include the neuropsychological sequellae of cancer and cancer treatment, as well as the physiological mechanisms underlying these problems and adherence to cancer therapy. (Funded by the NCI)

Selected Publications:

  1. Gentry AL, et al. Protocol for Exercise Program in Cancer and Cognition (EPICC): A randomized controlled trial of the effects of aerobic exercise on cognitive function in postmenopausal women with breast cancer receiving aromatase inhibitor therapy. Contemp Clin Trials 2018 67:109-115.
  2. Bender, CM, et al. Trajectories of Cognitive Function and Associated Phenotypic and Genotypic Factors in Breast Cancer. Oncology Nursing Forum 2018 45(3):308-326.
  3. Merriman, JD, et al. Trajectories of self-reported cognitive function in postmenopausal women during adjuvant systemic therapy for breast cancer. Psychooncology 2017 26(1):44-52.

Complete List of Publications

Dana Bovbjerg, PhD
Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology
Leader, Hillman Biobehavioral Oncology Program

Keywords:

  • Biobehavioral factors in cancer
  • Cancer risk
  • Cancer screening
  • Cancer diagnosis
  • Psychological factors in cancer
  • Smoking behavior

Research:

Dr. Bovbjerg’s laboratory focuses on biobehavioral factors in cancer, such as the emotional, cognitive, behavioral, and biological consequences of breast cancer risk; the contribution of biobehavioral factors to side effects of medical treatments and interventions that may ameliorate those effects; interactions between psychological and genetic factors in persistent smoking behavior; and psychological influences on cancer screening decisions. (Funded by the NCI)

Selected Publications:

  1. Vin-Raviv N, et al. Sleep disorder diagnoses and clinical outcomes among hospitalized breast cancer patients: a nationwide inpatient sample study. Support Care Cancer. 2018 26:1833-1840.
  2. Linkov F, et al. Changes in inflammatory endometrial cancer risk biomarkers in individuals undergoing surgical weight loss. Gynecol Oncol. 2017 147:133-138.
  3. Edmond SN, et al. Persistent breast pain among women with histories of breast-conserving surgery for breast cancer compared with women without histories of breast surgery or cancer. Clin J Pain. 2017 33:51-56.

Complete List of Publications

Carissa A. Low, PhD
Assistant Professor of Medicine (Division of Hematology/Oncology) and Psychology

Keywords:

  • Mobile sensing technology
  • Depression
  • Physical activity and sedentary behavior
  • Symptom management

Research:

Dr. Low’s laboratory works on interactions between behavior, biology, and patient-centered outcomes in the context of cancer. She is particularly interested in the use of technology to detect and change unhealthy behaviors, psychological stress, and symptom burden during cancer treatment. (Funded be the NCI)

Selected Publications:

  1. Low CA, et al. Fitbit step counts during inpatient recovery from cancer surgery as a predictor of readmission. Ann Behav Med. 2018 52:88-92.
  2. Low CA, et al. Estimation of symptom severity during chemotherapy from passively sensed data: Exploratory study. J Med Internet Res. 2017 19(12):e420.
  3. Low CA, et al. Depressive Symptoms in Patients Scheduled for Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy with Cytoreductive Surgery: Prospective Associations With Morbidity and Mortality. J Clin Oncol 2016 34(11):1217-22.

Complete List of Publications

Robert B. Noll, PhD
Professor of Pediatrics, Psychiatry, and Psychology

Keywords:

  • Pediatric cancer
  • Psychosocial issues
  • Clinical trials

Research:

Research from Dr. Noll’s laboratory focuses on gaining a better understanding of the impact of cancer on the psychosocial functioning of children and their families, and developing evidence-based strategies to alleviate suffering and late effects

Selected Publications:

  1. Hardy KK, et al. Neurocognitive functioning of children treated for high risk B-acute lymphoblastic leukemia (HR B-ALL) randomized to different methotrexate (MTX) and corticosteroid treatment strategies: A report from the Children’s Oncology Group (COG). J Clin Oncol, inpress. DOI: 10.1200/JCO.2016.71.7587 J Clin Oncol - published online before print July 3, 2017.
  2. Kazak AE, Noll RB. The integration of psychology in pediatric oncology research and practice: Collaboration to improve care and outcomes for children and families. Am Psychol. 2017 70(2): 146-158.
  3. Wiener L, et al. Standards for the psychosocial care of children with cancer and their families: An introduction to the special issue. Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2015 62: S419-S425.

Complete List of Publications

Brian A. Primack, MD, PhD
Dean, University Honors College
Bernice L. and Morton S. Lerner Chair
Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics
Director, Center for Research on Media, Technology, and Health

Keywords:

  • Tobacco
  • Smoking
  • Waterpipe
  • Hookah
  • Adolescent
  • Mass media
  • Media literacy
  • Technology
  • Health outcomes
  • Education
  • Health disparities

Research:

Dr. Primack’s laboratory investigates the influence of media and technology exposures, particularly on tobacco use. They also study waterpipe (hookah) tobacco and electronic cigarette smoking in youth. (Funded by the NCI and NIDA)

Selected Publications:

  1. Primack BA, et al. Comparison of toxicant load from waterpipe and cigarette tobacco smoking among young adults in the United States. Tobacco Control. In press, 2018.
  2. Primack BA, et al. Initiation of traditional cigarette smoking after electronic cigarette use among tobacco-naïve U.S. young adults. American Journal of Medicine. 2018 131(4):443.e1-443.e9.
  3. Hoffman BL, et al. Pennsylvania policymakers’ knowledge, attitudes, and likelihood for action regarding waterpipe tobacco smoking & electronic nicotine delivery systems. Tobacco Prevention & Cessation. 2018;4.

Complete List of Publications

Margaret Rosenzweig, PhD, CRNP-C, AOCN, FAAN
Professor and Vice Chair of Research, Acute and Tertiary Care

Keywords:

  • Disparities in cancer treatments
  • Women's cancer
  • Cancer education
  • Cancer survivorship
  • Metastatic breast cancer
  • Electronic symptom assessment

Research:

Dr. Rosenzweig’s laboratory explores the impact that biobehavioral and psychosocial factors, such as race and income, have on the metastatic breast cancer patient and how approaches and interventions can be tailored to improve the illness experience. (Funded by NCI and NIMHD)

Selected Publications:

  1. Yee MK, et al. Symptom incidence, distress, cancer-related distress, and adherence to chemotherapy among African American women with breast cancer. Cancer 2017 123:2061-2069.
  2. Hoffmann RL, et al. Creating Quality Online Materials for Specialty Nurse Practitioner Content: Filling a Need for the Graduate Nurse Practitioner. J Cancer Educ 2017 32:522-527.
  3. Jiang Y, et al. Beliefs in Chemotherapy and Knowledge of Cancer and Treatment Among African American Women with Newly Diagnosed Breast Cancer. Oncol Nurs Forum 2016 43:180-9.

Complete List of Publications

Yael Schenker, MD, MS
Associate Professor of Medicine (Division of General Internal Medicine)
Director, Palliative Care Research

Keywords:

  • Palliative care
  • Supportive oncology care
  • Informed consent
  • Surrogate decision making
  • Clinician-patient communication
  • Language barriers

Research:

Dr. Schenker’s primary research interest is in the integration of palliative care services in oncology, with a particular focus on developing new models to improve provision of “primary” palliative care within oncology practices. Secondary research interests include surrogate decision making, informed consent, health care advertising, and the impact of language and cultural barriers on patient-clinician communication. (Funded by the NCI and ACS)

Selected Publications:

  1. Soodalter JA, et al. Affective science and avoidant end-of-life communication: Can the science of emotion help physicians talk with their patients about the end of life? Patient Educ Couns 2018 101:960-967.
  2. Becker CL, et al. A cluster randomized trial of a primary palliative care intervention (CONNECT) for patients with advanced cancer: Protocol and key design considerations. Contemp Clin Trials Commun 2017 54:98-104.
  3. Hay CM, et al. Strategies for Introducing Outpatient Specialty Palliative Care in Gynecologic Oncology. J Oncol Pract 2017 13:e712-e720.

Complete List of Publications

Jennifer Lynn Steel, PhD
Associate Professor of Surgery, Psychiatry, and Psychology
Director, Center for Excellence in Behavioral Medicine

Keywords:

  • Caregiving
  • Psychoneuroimmunology
  • Genetics
  • Symptom Management
  • Microbiomes
  • Collaborative care interventions
  • Quality of life

Research:

Dr. Steel’s laboratory focuses on collaborative care interventions to manage cancer-related symptoms and improve quality of life for cancer patients. (Funded by the NCI)

Selected Publications:

  1. Krane DM, et al. Putting the life in lifestyle: Lifestyle choices after a diagnosis of cancer predict mortality. Cancer 2018 in press.
  2. Collins KP, et al. Sleep duration is associated with survival in advanced cancer patients. Sleep Med 2017 32:208-212.
  3. Steel JL, et al. Web-based collaborative care intervention to manage cancer-related symptoms in the palliative care setting. Cancer 2016 122(8):1270-82.

Complete List of Publications

Cancer Biology

Nduka Amankulor, MD
Assistant Professor of Neurological Surgery
Associate Director, Adult Neurosurgical Oncology

Keywords:

  • Glioma
  • Immune escape

Research:

Dr. Amankulor’s laboratory is focused on the role of isocitrate dehydrogenase and other factors in immune escape of glioma. It is also testing agents that facilitate infiltration of natural killer and T cells into gliomas that are grown in immunocompetent mouse models.

Selected Publications:

  1. Amankulor NM, et al. Mutant IDH1 regulates the tumor-associated immune system in gliomas. Genes Dev. 2017 Apr 15;31(8):774-786.
  2. Zhang X, et al. IDH mutant gliomas escape natural killer cell immune surveillance by downregulation of NKG2D ligand expression. Neuro Oncol. 2016 Oct;18(10):1402-12.
  3. Kohanbash G, et al. Isocitrate dehydrogenase mutations suppress STAT1 and CD8+ T cell accumulation in gliomas. J Clin Invest. 2017 Apr 3;127(4):1425-1437.

Complete List of Publications

Ronald Buckanovich, MD, PhD
Professor of Medicine (Division of Hematology/Oncology) and of Obstetrics, Gynecology, & Reproductive Science (Division of Gynecology/Oncology)
Co-Leader, Hillman Breast and Ovarian Cancer Program
Co-Director, UPMC Ovarian Cancer Center of Excellence

Keywords:

  • Ovarian cancer
  • Cancer stem cells
  • Single cell analysis
  • Humanized mouse models of cancer

Research:

Dr. Buckanovich’s laboratory is studying the factors from the tumor microenvironment that regulate cancer stem cell asymmetric division and quiescence. Based on their findings, they are developing novel therapeutics to prevent chemotherapy resistance and prevent disease recurrence. Finally, to better recapitulate human disease and more accurately test novel therapeutics, his group is developing a mouse model of ovarian cancer with a completely humanized tumor stroma. (Funded by the NCI)

Selected Publications:

  1. Bai S, et al. EGFL6 Regulates the Asymmetric Division, Maintenance, and Metastasis of ALDH+ Ovarian Cancer Cells. Cancer Research 2016 76;6396-6409.
  2. Choi YJ, et al. Identifying an ovarian cancer cell hierarchy regulated by bone morphogenetic protein 2. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015 Dec 15;112(50):E6882-8.
  3. McLean K, et al. Human ovarian carcinoma-associated mesenchymal stem cells regulate cancer stem cells and tumorigenesis via altered BMP production. J Clin Invest 2011 121:3206-3219.

Complete List of Publications

Lan Coffman, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor of Medicine (Division of Hematology/Oncology) and of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Science (Division of Gynecology/Oncology)

Keywords:

  • Ovarian cancer
  • Stromal cell signaling
  • Carcinoma-associated mesenchymal stem cells

Research:

Dr. Coffman’s research focuses on the ovarian cancer microenvironment, with specific interest in understanding and targeting the cancer supporting stromal tissues, which are critical to the survival, growth and metastatic spread of ovarian cancer. (Funded by the NCI)

Selected Publications:

  1. Iyengar M, et al. CDK4/6 inhibition as maintenance and combination therapy for high grade serous ovarian cancer. Oncotarget. 2018 Feb 26;9(21):15658-15672.
  2. Coffman LG, et al. New models of hematogenous ovarian cancer metastasis demonstrate preferential spread to the ovary and a requirement for the ovary for abdominal dissemination. Transl Res.2016 Sep;175:92-102.
  3. Coffman LG, et al. Human carcinoma-associated mesenchymal stem cells promote ovarian cancer chemotherapy resistance via a BMP4/HH signaling loop. Oncotarget. 2016 Feb 9;7(6):6916-32.

Complete List of Publications

Ferruccio Galbiati, MD, PhD
Professor of Pharmacology & Chemical Biology

Keywords:

  • Lung cancer
  • Signal transduction
  • Redox pharmacology
  • Systems biology of cancer

Research:

Dr. Galbiati’s laboratory studies the role of caveolin-1 signaling in oncogene-driven cellular senescence and in progression of premalignant lesions to adenocarcinoma of the lung. (Funded by the NCI)

Selected Publications:

  1. Volonte D, et al. Caveolin-1 promotes the tumor suppressor properties of oncogene-induced cellular senescence. J Biol Chem. 2018 Feb 2;293(5):1794-1809.
  2. Volonte D, et al. Caveolin-1 controls mitochondrial function through regulation of m-AAA mitochondrial protease. Aging (Albany NY). 2016 Oct 4;8(10):2355-2369.
  3. Volonte D, et al. Oxidative stress-induced inhibition of Sirt1 by caveolin-1 promotes p53-dependent premature senescence and stimulates the secretion of interleukin 6 (IL-6). J Biol Chem. 2015 Feb 13;290(7):4202-14.

Complete List of Publications

Adrian Lee, PhD
The Pittsburgh Foundation Endowed Chair in Precision Medicine
Professor of Pharmacology & Chemical Biology
Co-Leader, Hillman Breast and Ovarian Cancer Program

Keywords:

  • Breast cancer
  • Cancer genomics, progression, and metastasis

Research:

Dr. Adrian Lee’s laboratory conducts massively parallel sequencing to identify breast cancer mutations associated with disease progression, and develops methods (both technical and computational) to translationally advance those discoveries into the clinical setting. It also studies the role of insulin-like growth factors in breast cancer development and progression. (Funded by the DoD and Susan G. Komen for the Cure)

Selected Publications:

  1. Chen J, et al. Controlled dimerization of insulin-like growth factor-1 and insulin receptors reveals shared and distinct activities of holo and hybrid receptors. The Journal of biological chemistry. 2018; 293(10):3700-3709.
  2. Priedigkeit N, et al. Intrinsic Subtype Switching and Acquired ERBB2/HER2 Amplifications and Mutations in Breast Cancer Brain Metastases. JAMA oncology. 2017; 3(5):666-671.
  3. Hartmaier RJ, et al. Recurrent hyperactive ESR1 fusion proteins in endocrine therapy-resistant breast cancer. Annals of oncology: official journal of the European Society for Medical Oncology. 2018; 29(4):872-880.

Complete List of Publications

Yong J. Lee, PhD
Professor of Surgery

Keywords:

  • Colorectal cancer
  • Tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL)
  • Natural killer cells
  • Hyperthermic isolated hepatic perfusion

Research:

Dr. Lee’s laboratory is developing a novel strategy to treat unresectable colorectal liver metastases using hyperthermic isolated hepatic perfusion (HIHP), the chemotherapeutic agent oxaliplatin, and TRAIL-armed natural killer (NK) cells. They are also assessing the effect of anti-PD-1/PD-L1 agents on tumoricidal efficacy of secretory TRAIL-armed NK cells in models of metastatic melanoma. (Funded by the NCI)

Selected Publications:

  1. Sun J, et al. A multi-functional polymeric carrier for simultaneous positron emission tomography imaging and combination therapy. Acta Biomater. 2018 June 6; 75: 312-322.
  2. Lee YS, et al. Ferroptosis-Induced Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress: Cross-talk between Ferroptosis and Apoptosis. Mol Cancer Res. 2018 Mar 28.
  3. Song X, et al. Secretory TRAIL-Armed Natural Killer Cell-Based Therapy: In Vitro and In Vivo Colorectal Peritoneal Carcinomatosis Xenograft. Mol Cancer Ther. 2016 Jul;15(7):1591-601.

Complete List of Publications

Peter Lucas, MD, PhD
Associate Professor of Pathology and Pediatrics
Director of Pathology, NSABP/NRG

Keywords:

  • Lymphoma
  • Breast cancer
  • CARMA
  • Bcl10
  • MALT1
  • NF-κB signaling

Research:

Drs. Lucas and McAllister-Lucas co-direct a laboratory that seeks to better understand the underlying mechanisms of carcinogenesis. In particular, they are interested in how altered CARMA, Bcl10 and MALT1 signaling may contribute to B-cell lymphoma and GPCR-driven epithelial tumors such as breast cancer. (Funded by the NCI)

Selected Publications:

  1. Ekambaram P, et al. The CARMA3-Bcl10-MALT1 Signalosome Drives NFκB Activation and Promotes Aggressiveness in Angiotensin II Receptor-Positive Breast Cancer. Cancer Res. 2018 Mar 1;78(5):1225-1240.
  2. Klei LR, et al. MALT1 Protease Activation Triggers Acute Disruption of Endothelial Barrier Integrity via CYLD Cleavage.Cell Rep. 2016 Sep 27;17(1):221-232.
  3. Rosebeck S. et al. Cleavage of NIK by the API2-MALT1 fusion oncoprotein leads to noncanonical NF-kappaB activation. Science. 2011 Jan 28 (6061): 468-72.

Complete List of Publications

Linda McAllister-Lucas, MD, PhD
Associate Professor of Pediatrics
Chief of Service, Hematology/Oncology at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh

Keywords:

  • NF-κB in cancer
  • CARMA, Bcl10 and MALT1 oncoproteins
  • Lymphoma
  • Breast cancer

Research:

Dr. Linda McAllister-Lucas and Dr. Peter Lucas co-direct a research laboratory that focuses on the mechanisms by which dysregulated cellular signaling promote cancer progression. Current work is focused on assessing the role of CARMA, Bcl19 and MALT1 oncoproteins in B-cell lymphoma and in GPCR-driven epithelial tumors such as breast cancer. (Funded by the NCI)

Selected Publications:

  1. Ekambaram P, et al. The CARMA3-Bcl10-MALT1 Signalosome Drives NFκB Activation and Promotes Aggressiveness in Angiotensin II Receptor-Positive Breast Cancer. Cancer Res. 2018 Mar 1;78(5):1225-1240.
  2. Nie Z, et al. Conversion of the LIMA1 tumour suppressor into an oncogenic LMO-like protein by API2-MALT1 in MALT lymphoma. Nat Commun. 2015 Jan 8;6:5908.
  3. Rosebeck S, et al. Cleavage of NIK by the AP12-MALT1 fusion oncoprotein leads to noncanonical NF-kappaB activation. Science. 2011 Jan 28;331(6061):468-72.

Complete List of Publications

Satdarshan (Paul) Monga, MD
Professor of Pathology (Division of Experimental Pathology) and Medicine (Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition)
Vice Chair and Endowed Research Chair, Division of Experimental Pathology
Director, Pittsburgh Liver Research Center
Assistant Dean, Medical Scientist Training Program
Director, Cellular Approaches to Tissue Engineering & Regeneration (CATER) Program

Keywords:

  • Hepatocellular cancer (human, animal models, systems biology, cellular and molecular mechanisms)
  • Liver growth and regeneration
  • Wnt/ß-Catenin signaling
  • Therapeutic targeting in cancer

Research:

Dr. Monga's laboratory studies the overlapping pathways that regulate liver development, growth, regeneration and cancer. A focus has been on Wnt/beta-catenin signaling. (Funded by the NCI, NIDDK, Private Pharma)

Selected Publications:

  1. Molina L, et al. Hepatocyte-Derived Lipocalin 2 Is a Potential Serum Biomarker Reflecting Tumor Burden in Hepatoblastoma. Am J Pathol. 2018 Jun 18. pii: S0002-9440(17)31236-1. doi: 10.1016/j.ajpath.2018.05.006. [Epub ahead of print].
  2. Zhan N, et al. The Effect of Selective c-MET Inhibitor on Hepatocellular Carcinoma in the MET-Active, β-Catenin-Mutated Mouse Model. Gene Expr. 2018 May 18;18(2):135-147.
  3. Tao J, et al. Targeting β-catenin in hepatocellular cancers induced by coexpression of mutant β-catenin and K-Ras in mice. Hepatology. 2017 May;65(5):1581-1599.

Complete List of Publications

Steffi Oesterreich, PhD
Professor and Vice Chair of Precision and Translational Pharmacology, Pharmacology & Chemical Biology
Co-Director, Women’s Cancer Research Center

Keywords:

  • Breast cancer
  • Endocrine resistance
  • Metastasis

Research:

Dr. Oesterreich’s laboratory conducts translational studies focused on mutations in the estrogen receptor and the receptor’s signaling pathway that lead to endocrine resistance in breast cancer. It also focuses on molecular characterization of invasive lobular carcinoma as a distinct subtype of breast cancer. (Funded by the NCI, DoD, BCRF, and Susan G. Komen for the Cure)

Selected Publications:

  1. Du T, et al. Invasive lobular and ductal breast carcinoma differ in immune response, protein translation efficiency and metabolism. Sci Rep. 2018 May 8;8(1):7205.
  2. Bahreini A, et al. Mutation site and context dependent effects of ESR1 mutation in genome-edited breast cancer cell models. Breast Cancer Res. 2017 May 23;19(1):60.
  3. Wang P, et al. Sensitive detection of mono- and polyclonal ESR1 mutations in primary tumors, metastatic lesions, and cell-free DNA of breast cancer patients. Clin Cancer Res. 2016 Mar 1;22(5):1130-7.

Complete List of Publications

Edward Prochownik, MD, PhD
Paul C. Gaffney Professor of Pediatrics (Hematology/Oncology)
Professor of Microbiology & Molecular Genetics
Director of Oncology Research, UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh

Keywords:

  • Metabolic signaling
  • Mitochondrial structure and function

Research:

Dr. Prochownik’s laboratory focuses on ribosomal proteins in human cancers, and on Myc oncogene signaling on cellular metabolism, including glycolysis and oxidative phosphorylation. (Funded by the NCI)

Selected Publications:

  1. Jackson LE, et al. Genetic Dissociation of Glycolysis and the TCA Cycle Affects Neither Normal nor Neoplastic Proliferation. Cancer Res. 2017 Nov 1;77(21):5795-5807.
  2. Kulkarni S, et al. Ribosomopathy-like properties of murine and human cancers. PLoS One. 2017 Aug 18;12(8):e0182705.
  3. Dolezal JM, et al. Sequential adaptive changes in a c-Myc-driven model of hepatocellular carcinoma. J Biol Chem. 2017 Jun 16;292(24):10068-10086.

Complete List of Publications

Richard Steinman, MD, PhD
Associate Professor of Medicine (Division of Hematology/Oncology), and Pharmacology & Chemical Biology
Director, University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University Medical Scientist Training Program

Keywords:

  • Tumor microenvironment
  • Platelets
  • Stromal signaling

Research:

Dr. Steinman's laboratory studies the cancer microenvironment with a focus on the molecular and functional interactions between cancer cells, fibroblasts and platelets. (Funded by the NIGMS)

Selected Publications:

  1. Huang J, et al. Downregulation of estrogen receptor and modulation of growth of breast cancer cell lines mediated by paracrine stromal cell signals. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2017 Jan;161(2):229-243.
  2. Steinman RA, et al. Deletion of the RNA-editing enzyme ADAR1 causes regression of established chronic myelogenous leukemia in mice. Int J Cancer. 2013 Apr 15;132(8):1741-50.
  3. Steinman RA, et al. Antifibrotic effects of roscovitine in normal and scleroderma fibroblasts. PLoS One. 2012;7(11):e48560.

Complete List of Publications

George Tseng, ScD
Professor of Biostatistics, Human Genetics and Computational & Systems Biology

Keywords:

  • Biostatistics and bioinformatics
  • Genomics and proteomics
  • Data mining
  • Machine learning

Research:

Dr. Tseng’s laboratory works on data mining of high-throughput genomic, transcriptomic and proteomic data (such as microarray, next-generation sequencing and mass spectrometry data) and developing methods in study design, candidate marker detection, supervised machine learning (classification), unsupervised machine learning (clustering), high-dimensional feature selection and other topics driven by biological problems. (Funded by the NCI)

Selected Publications:

  1. Kim S, et al. Meta-analytic principal component analysis in integrative omics application. Bioinformatics. 2018 Apr 15;34(8):1321-1328.
  2. Huo Z and Tseng G. Integrative Sparse K-Means With Overlapping Group Lasso in Genomic Applications for Disease Subtype Discovery. Ann Appl Stat. 2017 Jun;11(2):1011-1039.
  3. Ma T, et al. Biomarker detection and categorization in ribonucleic acid sequencing meta-analysis using Bayesian hierarchical models. J R Stat Soc Ser C Appl Stat. 2017 Aug;66(4):847-867.

Complete List of Publications

Xiaosong Wang, MD, PhD
Associate Professor of Pathology and Biomedical Informatics

Keywords:

  • Computational genomics
  • Integrative bioinformatics
  • Cancer genetics
  • Cancer cell biology
  • Breast cancer

Research:

Dr. Xiaosong Wang’s research group focuses on developing and applying integrative computational technologies to discover causal genetic and epigenetic alterations, especially gene fusions, which can serve as viable therapeutic targets and predictive biomarkers in cancer. He also has a wet lab for assessing the validity of the predictions. (Funded by the NCI)

Selected Publications:

  1. Kim JA, et al. Comprehensive functional analysis of the tousled-like kinase 2 frequently amplified in aggressive luminal breast cancers. Nature Communications. 2016 Oct 3;7:12991.
  2. Veeraraghavan J, et al. Recurrent ESR1-CCDC170 rearrangements in an aggressive subset of oestrogen receptor-positive breast cancers. Nat Commun. 2014 Aug 7;5:4577.
  3. Wang XS et al. An integrative approach to reveal driver gene fusions from paired-end sequencing data in cancer. Nature Biotechnology. 2009 27:1005-1011

Complete List of Publications

Zhou Wang, PhD
Professor of Urology
Director and UPMC Chair of Urological Research
Co-Leader, Hillman Molecular and Cellular Cancer Biology Program

Keywords:

  • Prostate cancer
  • Androgen receptor signaling
  • Androgen receptor antagonists

Research:

Dr. Zhou Wang’s laboratory focuses on the actions of androgens on prostate growth, malignant transformation, and disease progression, particularly androgen-responsive gene EAF2. He also conducts preclinical studies of new prostate-targeting therapies in animal models. (Funded by the NCI)

Selected Publications:

  1. Jing Y, et al. DHX15 promotes prostate cancer progression by stimulating Siah2-mediated ubiquitination of androgen receptor. Oncogene. 2018 Feb 1;37(5):638-650.
  2. Zang Y, et al. ELL2 regulates DNA non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) repair in prostate cancer cells. Cancer Lett. 2018 Feb 28;415:198-207.
  3. Wang Y, et al. Combined Loss of EAF2 and p53 Induces Prostate Carcinogenesis in Male Mice. Endocrinology. 2017 Dec 1;158(12):4189-4205.

Complete List of Publications

Kurt Weiss, MD
Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery
Director, Musculoskeletal Oncology Laboratory

Keywords:

  • Sarcoma
  • Cachexia
  • Actions of metastases on bone

Research:

Dr. Weiss’ laboratory focuses on pediatric and adult sarcomas, with an emphasis on osteosarcoma. He also collaborates on studies of how solid tumor metastases lead to bone degradation. (Funded by the NCI)

Selected Publications:

  1. Fourman MS, et al. Quantitative Primary Tumor Indocyanine Green Measurements Predict Osteosarcoma Metastatic Lung Burden in a Mouse Model. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2018 Mar;476(3):479-487.
  2. Yu S, et al. Lung cells support osteosarcoma cell migration and survival. BMC Cancer. 2017 Jan 25;17(1):78.
  3. Wang T, et al. Immunohistochemical analysis of expressions of RB1, CDK4, HSP90, cPLA2G4A, and CHMP2B is helpful in distinction between myxofibrosarcoma and myxoid liposarcoma. Int J Surg Pathol. 2014 Oct;22(7):589-99.

Complete List of Publications

Reza Zarnegar, PhD
Professor of Pathology

Keywords:

  • Hepatic growth factor (HGF) and MET signaling

Research:

Dr. Zarnegar's laboratory deciphers the molecular mechanisms by which HGF (which he co-discovered) and its receptor MET regulate hepatocyte growth and metabolism. (Funded by the NCI)

Selected Publications:

  1. Seneviratne D, et al. Genomic instability causes HGF gene activation in colon cancer cells, promoting their resistance to necroptosis. Gastroenterology. 2015 Jan;148(1):181-191.e17.
  2. Ma J, et al. Novel Death Defying Domain in Met entraps the active site of caspase-3 and blocks apoptosis in hepatocytes. Hepatology. 2014 May;59(5):2010-21.
  3. Fafalios A, et al. A hepatocyte growth factor receptor (Met)-insulin receptor hybrid governs hepatic glucose metabolism. Nat Med. 2011 Nov 13;17(12):1577-84.

Complete List of Publications

Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention

Wendie A. Berg, MD, PhD, FACR
Professor of Radiology

Keywords:

  • Breast imaging
  • Tomosynthesis
  • Ultrasound

Research:

Dr. Berg compares imaging modalities, such as digital tomosynthesis and whole breast ultrasound, for breast cancer detection. (Funded by the NCI)

Selected Publications:

  1. Narayanan D, et al. Use of Breast-Specific PET Scanners and Comparison with MR Imaging. Magn Reson Imaging Clin N Am 2018 26(2):265-272.
  2. Berg WA. Can Optoacoustic Imaging Safely Reduce Benign Breast Biopsies? Radiology 2018 287:413-415.
  3. Berg WA, et al. Ultrasound as the Primary Screening Test for Breast Cancer: Analysis from ACRIN 6666. J Natl Cancer Inst 2015 108(4).

Complete List of Publications

Rohit Bhargava, MD
Professor of Pathology

Keywords:

  • Breast cancer pathology
  • Gynecologic cancer pathology

Research:

Dr. Bhargava's research interests include identifying novel diagnostic and prognostic markers for invasive and in situ (early) breast cancer, studying predictive biomarkers in breast carcinoma and their correlation to clinical outcome, and validating new and informative diagnostic assays in breast and gynecologic pathology and general oncology. (Funded by the NCI)

Selected Publication:

  1. Landmann A, et al. Low Estrogen Receptor (ER)-Positive Breast Cancer and Neoadjuvant Systemic Chemotherapy: Is Response Similar to Typical ER-Positive or ER-Negative Disease? Am J Clin Pathol 2018 150:34-42.
  2. Clark BZ, et al. Prognostic Significance of Modified Residual Disease in Breast and Nodes (mRDBN) Algorithm After Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy for Breast Cancer. Am J Clin Pathol 2018 149:332-343.
  3. Assylbekova B, et al. Well Differentiated Endometrioid Adenocarcinoma of the Endometrium with "Adenoma Malignum-Like" Pattern of Invasion: Report of Two Cases and Review of Literature. Ann Clin Lab Sci 2017 47:765-767.

Complete List of Publications

James Herman, MD
UPMC Endowed Chair for Lung Cancer Research
Professor of Medicine
Leader, Hillman Lung Cancer Program

Keywords:

  • Lung cancer
  • DNA methylation
  • Tumor suppressor genes
  • Epigenetics
  • Biomarkers
  • Transcription factors
  • Early detection
  • Cancer prognosis

Research:

Dr. Herman’s laboratory explores changes in DNA methylation in cancer and was the first to demonstrate that tumor suppressor genes are silenced by promoter region methylation. Current research is aimed at the development of prognostic, predictive, and early detection epigenetic biomarkers, and in studies of epigenetic therapy. (Funded by the NCI)

Selected Publications:

  1. Yan W, et al. Retinoic acid-induced 2 (RAI2) is a novel tumor suppressor, and promoter region methylation of RAI2 is a poor prognostic marker in colorectal cancer. Clin Epigenetics 2018 10:69.
  2. Pelosof L, et al. GPX3 promoter methylation predicts platinum sensitivity in colorectal cancer. Epigenetics 2017 12:540-550.
  3. Hulbert A, et al. Early Detection of Lung Cancer Using DNA Promoter Hypermethylation in Plasma and Sputum. Clin Cancer Res 2017 23:1998-2005.

Complete List of Publications

Stephen J.D. O'Keefe, MD, MSc
Professor of Medicine (Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition)

Keywords:

  • Nutrition and disease
  • Colon cancer
  • Acute pancreatitis
  • Prevention
  • Microbiome

Research:

Dr. O’Keefe studies the role of diet, the microbiome and its metabolites in determining colon cancer risk in extreme risk Alaska Native People, high risk African Americans, and minimal risk rural South Africans. (Funded by the NCI)

Selected Publications:

  1. O'Keefe SJD. The Need to Reassess Dietary Fiber Requirements in Healthy and Critically Ill Patients. Gastroenterol Clin North Am 2018 47:219-229.
  2. Ocvirk S, et al. Influence of Bile Acids on Colorectal Cancer Risk: Potential Mechanisms Mediated by Diet - Gut Microbiota Interactions. Curr Nutr Rep 2017 6:315-322.
  3. O'Keefe SJ, et al. Fat, fiber and cancer risk in African Americans and rural Africans. Nat Commun 2015 6:6342.

Complete List of Publications

Robert E. Schoen, MD, MPH
Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology
Chief, Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition

Keywords:

  • Early detection and prevention of colorectal cancer (CRC)
  • Biomarkers for Early Detection and Monitoring of CRC
  • Environmental and Genetic Risk Factors for CRC
  • Colonoscopy quality and utilization
  • Acceptability and implementation of CRC screening

Research:

Dr. Schoen’s interests are centered on early detection and prevention of CRC. He is a principal investigator in the Early Detection Research Network, studying ctDNA with Dr. Kinzler at Johns Hopkins for detection and monitoring of CRC, and with Dr. Olja Finn evaluating a MUC1 vaccine for prevention of adenomatous polyps. He is also a principal investigator in the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian (PLCO) Cancer Screening Trial, a randomized trial of over 154,000 individuals that evaluated flexible sigmoidoscopy. He has used PLCO data to study surveillance colonoscopy utilization and yield, interval cancers, and risk of colorectal cancer among subjects with a family history of cancer. He is a co-investigator in the GECCO consortium, evaluating environmental and genetic risk factors for CRC. (Funded by the NCI)

Selected Publications:

  1. Click B, et al. Association of Colonoscopy Adenoma Findings with Long-term Colorectal Cancer Incidence. JAMA 2018 319:2021-2031.
  2. Jeon J, et al. Determining Risk of Colorectal Cancer and Starting Age of Screening Based on Lifestyle, Environmental, and Genetic Factors. Gastroenterology 2018;154:2152-2164.e19.
  3. Cohen JD, et al. Detection and localization of surgically resectable cancers with a multi-analyte blood test. (2018). Science. 359(6378):926-930. PMID: 29348365.

Complete List of Publications

Shivendra V. Singh, PhD
UPMC Chair in Cancer Prevention Research
Professor of Pharmacology & Chemical Biology and Professor of Urology
Associate Director for Basic Research, UPMC Hillman Cancer Center

Keywords:

  • Cancer pharmacology
  • Drug discovery
  • Chemoprevention
  • Dietary anti-cancer compounds
  • Isothiocynates
  • Organosulfides
  • Withaferin A

Research:

The primary research interests of Dr. Singh’s laboratory include molecular characterization of novel cancer chemopreventive agents and rational design of mechanism-driven combination chemoprevention regimens. Some of the agents under active investigation in the Singh laboratory include cruciferous vegetable-derived isothiocyanates, garlic-derived organosulfides, and medicinal plant constituent withaferin A. (Funded by the NCI)

Selected Publications:

  1. Singh KB, et al. Prostate cancer chemoprevention by sulforaphane in a preclinical mouse model is associated with inhibition of fatty acid metabolism. Carcinogenesis. 2018 28;39(6):826-837.
  2. Samanta SK, et al. Peptidyl-prolyl cis/trans isomerase Pin1 regulates withaferin A-mediated cell cycle arrest in human breast cancer cells. Mol Carcinog. 2018 57(7):936-946.
  3. Samanta SK, et al. Disease Subtype-Independent Biomarkers of Breast Cancer Chemoprevention by the Ayurvedic Medicine Phytochemical Withaferin A. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2016 31;109(6).

Complete List of Publications

Jian-Min Yuan, MD, PhD
Arnold Palmer Endowed Chair in Cancer Prevention, UPMC Hillman Cancer Center
Professor of Epidemiology
Associate Director for Cancer Control and Population Sciences, UPMC Hillman Cancer Center
Co-Leader, Hillman Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention Program
Director, Translational Research Training in Cancer Etiology and Prevention

Keywords:

  • Gene-environment interaction in cancer etiology
  • Cancer biomarkers
  • Cancer risk prediction
  • Dietary chemopreventive agents
  • Cancer epidemiology
  • Cancer prevention
  • Clinical trials

Research:

Dr. Yuan’s laboratory focuses on the etiologic and protective roles of environmental exposures and genetic factors, and their interaction in the development of cancers. Dr. Yuan is Principal Investigator of the Shanghai Cohort Study and the Singapore Chinese Health Study ─ two population-based prospective cohort studies of more than 80,000 individuals ─ as well as the Pittsburgh Lung Screening Study (PluSS) that has collected repeated annual blood samples and biannual low-dose CT scans on a cohort of 3,600 smokers at high risk for lung cancer. (Funded by the NCI)

Selected Publications:

  1. Huang JY, et al. A prospective evaluation of serum kynurenine metabolites and risk of pancreatic cancer. PLoS One 2018 13:e0196465.
  2. Yuan JM, et al. Relationship of the Oxidative Damage Biomarker 8-epi-prostaglandin F2α to Risk of Lung Cancer Development in the Shanghai Cohort Study. Carcinogenesis 2018 May 3. [Epub ahead of print].
  3. Wang Z, et al. Telomere length and risk of developing gastric adenocarcinoma: The Singapore Chinese Health Study. Gastric Cancer 2017 21(4):598-605.

Complete List of Publications

Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy

Carolyn J. Anderson, PhD
Professor of Medicine (Division of Cardiology), Pharmacology & Chemical Biology, and Bioengineering
Co-Director, In Vivo Imaging Facility

Keywords:

  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Metal radionuclides
  • Cancer imaging
  • Radiotherapy
  • Molecular imaging
  • Positron emission tomography (PET)
  • Cancer metastasis

Research:

The major focus of Dr. Anderson's laboratory is the development, evaluation and application of radiopharmaceuticals containing metal radionuclides for diagnostic imaging and radiotherapy for cancer. In models of metastatic melanoma, they are evaluating the therapeutic potential of combining checkpoint inhibitors with a radionuclide targeting very late antigen-4 (VLA-4), an integrin involved in tumor growth, angiogenesis, and metastasis, as well as the ability of PET tracers targeting VLA-4, PD-1 and CD8 to monitor early responses to therapy. (Funded by the NCI, NIAID, and NIBIB)

Selected Publications:

  1. Choi J, et al.  Combination treatment of VLA-4 targeted radionuclide therapy and immunotherapy in a mouse model of melanoma.  Journal of Nuclear Medicine. 2018 doi:10.2967/jnumed.118.209510 [Epub ahead of print].
  2. Ocak M, et al. (64)Cu-Laboratoryeled Phosphonate Cross-Bridged Chelator Conjugates of c(RGDyK) for PET/CT Imaging of Osteolytic Bone Metastases. Cancer Biother Radiopharm. 2018 Mar;33(2):74-83.
  3. Choy CJ, et al.  177Lu-Labeled phosphoramidate-based PSMA inhibitors: the effect of an albumin binder on biodistribution and therapeutic efficacy in prostate tumor-bearing mice.  Theranostics. 2017 Apr;7(7): 1928-1939.

Complete List of Publications

Robert J. Binder, PhD
Associate Professor of Immunology
Director, Immunology Graduate Program

Keywords:

  • Antigen cross-presentation
  • Tumor immunology
  • Immunotherapy
  • Heat shock proteins
  • Cancer vaccines

Research:

Dr. Binder’s laboratory focuses on the mechanisms of antigen cross-priming during immune responses to cancer. In particular, they are interested in heat shock proteins as they are both necessary and sufficient for cross presentation. (Funding by the NCI and NIAID)

Selected Publications:

  1. Kinner-Bibeau LB, et al. HSPs drive dichotomous T-cell immune responses via DNA methylome remodelling in antigen presenting cells. Nat Commun. 2017 May 31;8:15648.
  2. Sedlacek AL, et al. Phenotypically distinct helper NK cells are required for gp96-mediated anti-tumor immunity. Sci Rep. 2016 Jul 19;6:29889.
  3. Zhou YJ, et al. Establishment of tumor-associated immunity requires interaction of heat shock proteins with CD91. Cancer Immunol Res. 2014 Mar;2(3):217-28.

Complete List of Publications

Greg M. Delgoffe, PhD
Assistant Professor of Immunology

Keywords:

  • Tumor immunology
  • Regulatory T cells
  • Immunometabolism
  • Cancer immunotherapy

Research:

Dr. Delgoffe’s laboratory studies the impact of the tumor microenvironment on T cell subsets that infiltrate the tumor. They aim to dissect how tumor cells promote an immunosuppressive environment through the modulation of metabolite availability and the generation of a chronic inflammatory environment. (Funded by the NIAID)

Selected Publications:

  1. Menk AV, et al. 4-1BB costimulation induces T cell mitochondrial function and biogenesis enabling cancer immunotherapeutic responses. J Exp Med. 2018 Apr 2;215(4):1091-1100.
  2. Menk AV, et al. Early TCR Signaling Induces Rapid Aerobic Glycolysis Enabling Distinct Acute T Cell Effector Functions. Cell Rep. 2018 Feb 6;22(6):1509-1521.
  3. Delgoffe GM. PP2A's restraint of mTOR is critical for T(reg) cell activity. Nat Immunol. 2016 May;17(5):478-9. doi: 10.1038/ni.3442. PubMed PMID: 27092798.

Complete List of Publications

Robert L. Ferris, MD, PhD
Hillman Professor of Oncology
Professor of Otolaryngology, Immunology, and Radiation Oncology
Associate Vice-Chancellor for Cancer Research
Director, UPMC Hillman Cancer Center
Co-Director, Tumor Microenvironment Center
Director, Postdoctoral Research Training in Head and Neck Oncology

Keywords:

  • Human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • PD-1
  • Tim-3
  • Antigen presentation
  • Cancer vaccines
  • Immunotherapy
  • Head and neck cancer
  • Tumor microenvironment

Research:

Dr. Ferris's laboratory focuses on understanding basic immunological mechanisms of the T lymphocyte response to cancer for the development of novel immunotherapeutic approaches to head and neck cancers. They are particularly interested in the immune response to HPV-associated head and neck cancer, which appears to be a distinct subgroup of head and neck squamous cell carcinomas. (Funded by the NCI)

Selected Publications:

  1. Kansy BA, et al. PD-1 Status in CD8+ T Cells Associates with Survival and Anti-PD-1 Therapeutic Outcomes in Head and Neck Cancer. Cancer Res. 2017 Nov 15;77(22):6353-6364.
  2. Shayan G, et al. Phase Ib Study of Immune Biomarker Modulation with Neoadjuvant Cetuximab and TLR8 Stimulation in Head and Neck Cancer to Overcome Suppressive Myeloid Signals. Clin Cancer Res. 2018 Jan 1;24(1):62-72.
  3. Liu Z, et al. Novel effector phenotype of Tim-3+ regulatory T cells leads to enhanced suppressive function in head and neck cancer patients. Clin Cancer Res. 2018 Apr 30. pii: clincanres.1350.2017.

Complete List of Publications

Olivera J. Finn, PhD
Distinguished Professor of Immunology and Surgery

Keywords:

  • Cancer vaccines
  • Tumor-specific immunity
  • Immunoprevention

Research:

The long-standing interests of Dr. Finn’s laboratory center on identifying specific mechanisms of human anti-tumor immunity and cancer immunosurveillance; they were the first to identify a human tumor antigen recognized by human T cells and antibodies - the epithelial mucin MUC1, which has been tested as a therapeutic cancer vaccine and currently as a prophylactic cancer vaccine. (Funded by the NCI)

Selected Publications:

  1. Finn OJ. The dawn of vaccines for cancer prevention. Nat. Rev. Immunol. 2018 Mar 18(3):183-194.
  2. Lohmueller JJ, et al. Antibodies elicited by the first non-viral prophylactic cancer vaccine show tumor-specificity and immunotherapeutic potential. Sci Rep. 2016 Aug 22;6:31740.
  3. Kimura T, et al. MUC1 vaccine for individuals with advanced adenoma of the colon: a cancer immunoprevention feasibility study. Cancer Pre Res (Phila). 2013 Jan;6(1):18-26.

Complete List of Publications

Lawrence Kane, PhD
Professor and Vice Chair for Education, Immunology

Keywords:

  • T cells
  • Signal transduction
  • Kinases
  • Immunology
  • Mast cells
  • Co-stimulation
  • Tim-3

Research:

Dr. Kane’s laboratory studies the signal transduction pathways that regulate antigen-dependent activation of T cells and mast cells. A large focus centers on TIM-3, a novel transmembrane protein associated with both inhibitory and co-stimulatory functions, depending on the biological context. (Funded by the NCI and NIAID)

Selected Publications:

  1. Avery L, et al. Tim-3 co-stimulation promotes short-lived effector T cells, restricts memory precursors, and is dispensable for T cell exhaustion. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2018 Mar 6;115(10):2455-2460.
  2. Phong B, et al. Cutting Edge: Murine Mast Cells Rapidly Modulate Metabolic Pathways Essential for Distinct Effector Functions. J Immunol. 2017 Jan 15;198(2):640-644.
  3. Phong BL, et al. Tim-3 enhances FcεRI-proximal signaling to modulate mast cell activation. J Exp Med. 2015 Dec 14;212(13):2289-304.

Complete List of Publications

John M. Kirkwood, MD
Thomas and Sandra Usher Professor of Medicine, Dermatology and Translational Science
Co-Leader, Hillman Melanoma Program
Director, Training Program in Skin Biology and Cancer

Keywords:

  • Melanoma
  • Immunology
  • Immunotherapy
  • Interferon
  • Cancer vaccines
  • Clinical trials

Research:

Dr. Kirkwood’s laboratory studies melanoma immunobiology, and assesses new immunomodulators and targeted therapies for melanoma in the context of clinical trials. In addition, they perform correlative studies to evaluate putative predictive and prognostic biomarkers associated with therapeutic interventions. (Funded by the NCI)

Selected Publications:

  1. Tahata S, et al. Evaluation of biodistribution of sulforaphane after administration of oral broccoli sprout extract in melanoma patients with multiple atypical nevi. Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2018 Apr 24. pii: canprevres.0268.2017. doi:10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-17-0268. [Epub ahead of print]
  2. Ferris LK, et al. A Large Skin Cancer Screening Quality Initiative: Description and First-Year Outcomes. JAMA Oncol. 2017;3(8):1112-1115
  3. Long GV, et al. Adjuvant Dabrafenib plus Trametinib in Stage III BRAF-Mutated Melanoma. N Engl J Med. 2017 Nov 9;377(19):1813-1823.

Complete List of Publications

Binfeng Lu, PhD
Associate Professor of Immunology

Keywords:

  • Immunotherapy
  • Interleukin-33
  • Signal transduction
  • Stress-triggered responses

Research:

Dr. Lu’s laboratory aims to discover new targets for improving immunotherapy, such as IL-33, and to understand the regulation of stress-triggered molecular responses in T cells and how these responses impact cancer immunity. (Funded by the NCI and NIAID)

Selected Publications:

  1. Yang X, et al. ATF4 Regulates CD4+ T Cell Immune Responses through Metabolic Reprogramming. Cell reports. 2018; 23(6):1754-1766
  2. Xu Y, et al. Higher Numbers of T-Bet+ Tumor-Infiltrating Lymphocytes Assocaite with Better Survical in Human Epithelial Ovarian Cancer. Cell Physiol Biochem. 2017; 41(2)475-483.
  3. Wang X, et al. IL-36γ Transforms the Tumor Microenvironment and Promotes Type 1 Lymphocyte-Mediated Antitumor Immune Responses. Cancer cell. 2015; 28(3):296-306.

Complete List of Publications

Saumendra N. Sarkar, PhD
Associate Professor of Microbiology & Molecular Genetics and Immunology

Keywords:

  • RIG-I-like receptors (RLR)
  • Toll-like receptor 3 (TLR3)
  • Innate immune signaling
  • Anti-viral innate immunity
  • IFN signaling
  • Tumor microenvironment
  • Oncolytic viruses

Research:

Dr. Sarkar’s laboratory seeks to define the role of innate immune responses, specifically the IFN response, in shaping tumorigenesis and metastasis. They are also developing immune-oncolytic viruses for cancer therapy. (Funded by the NCI and NIAID)

Selected Publications:

  1. Cuevas RA, et al. MOV10 Provides Antiviral Activity against RNA Viruses by Enhancing RIG-I-MAVS-Independent IFN Induction. J Immunol. 2016 May 1;196(9):3877-86.
  2. McCormick KD, et al. Innate immune signaling through differential RIPK1 expression promote tumor progression in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. Carcinogenesis. 2016 May;37(5):522-9.
  3. Zhu J, et al. Antiviral activity of human OASL protein is mediated by enhancing signaling of the RIG-I RNA sensor. Immunity. 2014 Jun 19;40(6):936-48.

Complete List of Publications

Walter J. Storkus, PhD
Professor of Dermatology, Immunology, Bioengineering, and Pathology

Keywords:

  • Tumor biology
  • Cancer vaccines
  • Immunotherapy
  • Dendritic cells
  • Tumor microenvironment

Research:

Cancer immunobiology and immunotherapy are the main interests of Dr. Storkus’s laboratory. They are developing novel vaccine approaches, such as using dendritic cells, which target tumor cells and stromal cells within the tumor microenvironment. Studies span from murine tumor models to human clinical trials. (Funded by the NCI)

Selected Publications:

  1. Weinstein AM, et al.Tbet and IL-36γ cooperate in therapeutic DC-mediated promotion of ectopic lymphoid organogenesis in the tumor microenvironment. Oncoimmunology. 2017 Apr 28;6(6):e1322238.
  2. Fabian KP, et al. Therapeutic efficacy of combined vaccination against tumor pericyte-associated antigens DLK1 and DLK2 in mice. Oncoimmunology. 2017 Feb 10;6(3):e1290035.
  3. Wesa AK, et al. Circulating Type-1 Anti-Tumor CD4(+) T Cells are Preferentially Pro-Apoptotic in Cancer Patients. Front Oncol. 2014 Sep 29;4:266. doi:10.3389/fonc.2014.00266

Complete List of Publications

Dario A.A. Vignali, PhD
The Frank Dixon Chair in Cancer Immunology
Professor and Vice Chair of Immunology
Leader, Hillman Cancer Immunology Program
Director, Cancer Immunology Training Program
Co-Director, Tumor Microenvironment Center
Scientific Director, Fondazione Ri.MED

Keywords:

  • Regulatory T cells
  • Inhibitory Receptors
  • Tumor immunology

Research:

Dr. Vignali’s laboratory focuses on various aspects of cancer immunology, focusing on T cell regulation, exhaustion and function; inhibitory receptors, particularly LAG3 and PD1; regulatory T cells; the inhibitory cytokines IL-35 and IL10; and control of T cell receptor:CD3 complex signaling. (Funded by the NCI, NIAID, NIDDK, and several biopharma)

Selected Publications:

  1. Overacre-Delgoffe AE, et al. Interferon-γ Drives T(reg) Fragility to Promote Anti-tumor Immunity. Cell. 2017 Jun 1;169(6):1130-1141.
  2. Turnis ME, et al. Interleukin-35 limits anti-tumor immunity. Immunity. 2016 44:316-29.
  3. Delgoffe GM, et al. Stability and function of regulatory T cells is maintained by a neuropilin-1:semaphorin-4a axis. Nature. 2013 501:252-256.

Complete List of Publications

Theresa L. Whiteside, PhD
Professor of Pathology, Immunology, and Otolaryngology
Co-Leader, Hillman Head and Neck Cancer Program

Keywords:

  • Tumor immunity
  • Cancer immunotherapy
  • Exosomes
  • Head and neck cancer

Research:

The goal of Dr. Whiteside’s laboratory is to develop a better understanding of cellular and molecular cancer immunology. They are particularly interested in the role that exosomes play in modulating cancer immunity and malignant progression. (Funded by the NCI)

Selected Publications:

  1. Theodoraki MN, et al. Plasma-derived Exosomes Reverse Epithelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition after Photodynamic Therapy of Patients with Head and Neck Cancer. Oncoscience. 2018 Apr 29;5(3-4):75-87
  2. Sharma P, et al. Immunoaffinity-based isolation of melanoma cell-derived exosomes from plasma of patients with melanoma. J Extracell Vesicles. 2018 Feb 15;7(1):1435138.
  3. Theodoraki MN, et al. Separation of plasma-derived exosomes into CD3((+)) and CD3((-)) fractions allows for association of immune cell and tumour cell markers with disease activity in HNSCC patients. Clin Exp Immunol. 2018 Jun;192(3):271-283.

Complete List of Publications

Hassane Zarour, MD
Professor of Medicine (Division of Hematology/Oncology), Immunology and Dermatology
Co-Leader, Hillman Melanoma Program

Keywords:

  • Cancer immunology
  • Cancer immunotherapy
  • Melanoma
  • Skin cancer

Research:

Dr. Zarour’s laboratory studies the mechanisms of melanoma-induced T cell dysfunction, including the role of the PD-1, Tim-3, BTLA and TIGIT pathways. They also are evaluating the role of the gut microbiome in modulating clinical and immune responses to immune checkpoint blockade in patients with PD1 refractory melanoma. (Funded by the NCI)

Selected Publications:

  1. Chauvin JM, et al. TIGIT and PD-1 impair tumor antigen-specific CD8⁺ T cells in melanoma patients. J Clin Invest. 2015 May;125(5):2046-58
  2. Sun Z, et al. IL10 and PD-1 Cooperate to Limit the Activity of Tumor-Specific CD8+ T Cells. Cancer Res. 2015 Apr 15;75(8):1635-44.
  3. Fourcade J, et al. PD-1 and Tim-3 regulate the expansion of tumor antigen-specific CD8⁺ T cells induced by melanoma vaccines. Cancer Res. 2014 Feb 15;74(4):1045-55.

Complete List of Publications

Cancer Therapeutics

Edward Chu, MD
Stanley M. Marks, MD-OHA Chair in Hematology/Oncology Leadership
Professor of Medicine, Pharmacology & Chemical Biology, and Clinical and
Translational Science
Chief, Division of Hematology/Oncology
Deputy Director, UPMC Hillman Cancer Center
Co-Leader, Hillman Cancer Therapeutics Program
Director, Training in Cancer Therapeutics Research

Keywords:

  • Colorectal cancer
  • Cancer pharmacology
  • Cancer drug development
  • Phase I/II clinical trials
  • Drug resistance
  • Chinese herbal medicine

Research:

Dr. Chu’s group is focused on overcoming drug resistance, and in developing phase I trials for novel anti-cancer agents and agent combinations. There is particular interest in determining how Chinese herbal medicines can be incorporated into cancer treatment for improved efficacy and relief of side effects. (Funded by the NCI)

Selected Publications:

  1. Liu H, et al. Herbal formula Huang Qin Ge Gen Tang enhances 5-fluorouracil antitumor activity through modulation of the E2F1/TS pathway. Cell Commun Signal. 2018 Feb 20;16(1):7.
  2. Stoller R, et al. Phase I study of veliparib in combination with gemcitabine. Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 2017 Sep;80(3):631-643.
  3. Parikh RA, et al. Tyrosine Kinase and Mammalian Target of Rapamycin Inhibitors in the Treatment of Advanced Renal Cell Carcinoma: Practical Clinical Implications of Pharmacologic Features. Clin Genitourin Cancer. 2017 Feb;15(1):7-22.

Complete List of Publications

Joseph Costantino, DrPH
Professor of Biostatistics
Director, NRG Oncology Statistics and Data Management Center

Keywords:

  • Breast cancer
  • Biostatistics
  • Clinical trials
  • Recurrence risk

Research:

Dr. Costantino’s group designs and analyzes clinical trials, particularly those directed at the treatment and control of breast cancer. (Funded by the NCI)

Selected Publications:

  1. Mamounas EP, et al. 21-Gene Recurrence Score and Locoregional Recurrence in Node-Positive/ER-Positive Breast Cancer Treated With Chemo-Endocrine Therapy. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2017 Jan 25;109(4).
  2. Gavin PG, et al. Association of Polymorphisms in FCGR2A and FCGR3A With Degree of Trastuzumab Benefit in the Adjuvant Treatment of ERBB2/HER2-Positive Breast Cancer: Analysis of the NSABP B-31 Trial. JAMA Oncol. 2017 Mar 1;3(3):335-341.
  3. Pogue-Geile KL, et al. Intrinsic subtypes, PIK3CA mutation, and the degree of benefit from adjuvant trastuzumab in the NSABP B-31 trial. J Clin Oncol. 2015 Apr 20;33(12):1340-7.

Complete List of Publications

Song Li, MD, PhD
Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences

Keywords:

  • Drug and gene delivery
  • Immunomodulation

Research:

Dr. Li’s laboratory focuses on developing novel nanotherapeutics for combinatorial treatment of cancer. His lab is actively studying both targeted and immunomodulatory strategies. (Funded by the NCI)

Selected Publications:

  1. Xu J, et al. Pendant HDAC inhibitor SAHA derivatised polymer as a novel prodrug micellar carrier for anticancer drugs. J Drug Target. 2018 Jun - Jul;26(5-6):448-457.
  2. Sun J, et al. Doxorubicin delivered by a redox-responsive dasatinib-containing polymeric prodrug carrier for combination therapy. J Control Release. 2017 Jul 28;258:43-55.
  3. Chen Y, et al. An immunostimulatory dual-functional nanocarrier that improves cancer immunochemotherapy. Nat Commun. 2016 Nov 7;7:13443.

Complete List of Publications

Robert M. Nishikawa, PhD
Professor of Radiology and of Bioengineering

Keywords:

  • Breast Imaging
  • Quantitative Imaging
  • Technology assessment
  • Observer performance
  • Artificial Intelligencecancer

Research:

Dr. Nishikawa’s group is focused on extracting image features from breast images that can be used to detect and/or characterize breast cancer, particularly triaging subgroups of women to the most suitable treatment and determining the optimal screening modality and frequency of screening. He is also investigating how best to implement different breast cancer screening technologies to maximize radiologists’ ability to render an accurate diagnosis (Funded by the NCI)

Selected Publications:

  1. de Cea MS, et al. Locally adaptive decision in detection of clustered microcalcifications in mammograms. Physics in Medicine & Biology. 2018;63(4):045014.
  2. Lee J, et al. Lack of agreement between radiologists: implications for image-based model observers. Journal of Digital Imaging 2017;4:4-11.
  3. Lee J and Nishikawa RM. Automated mammographic breast density estimation using a fully convolutional network. Med Phys. 2018 Mar;45(3):1178-1190.

Complete List of Publications

Ian Pollack, MD
A. Leland Albright Distinguished Professor and Vice Chair of Academic Affairs, Neurological Surgery
Co-Director, Neurosurgical Oncology
Chief of Pediatric Neurosurgery at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh

Keywords:

  • Glioma
  • Pathways in glioma growth
  • Prognostic markers

Research:

Dr. Pollack’s laboratory focuses on molecular markers of glioma prognosis and novel glioma therapies, particularly vaccine-based approaches. (Funded by the NCI)

Selected Publications:

  1. Jane EP, et al. Survivin inhibitor YM155 induces mitochondrial dysfunction, autophagy, DNA damage and apoptosis in Bcl-xL silenced glioma cell lines. Mol Carcinog. 2017 Apr;56(4):1251-1265.
  2. Jane EP, et al. Dinaciclib, a Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor Promotes Proteasomal Degradation of Mcl-1 and Enhances ABT-737-Mediated Cell Death in Malignant Human Glioma Cell Lines. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2016 Feb;356(2):354-65.
  3. Foster KA, et al. NVP-BKM120 potentiates apoptosis in tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand-resistant glioma cell lines via upregulation of Noxa and death receptor 5. Int J Oncol. 2015 Aug;47(2):506-16.

Complete List of Publications

Peter Wipf, PhD
Distinguished University Professor of Chemistry and Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences and of Bioengineering
Co-Leader, Hillman Cancer Therapeutics Program

Keywords:

  • Anti-cancer therapeutics
  • Organic synthesis
  • Natural products

Research:

Dr. Wipf’s laboratory applies medicinal chemistry, structure-based drug design, and complex natural and unnatural product synthesis to design, synthesize and evaluate small molecule therapeutics.

Selected Publications:

  1. McQueeney KE, et al. A chemical genetics approach identifies PTP4A3 as a regulator of colon cancer cell adhesion. FASEB J. 2018 May 10:fj201701446R.
  2. Gau D, et al. Structure-based virtual screening identifies a small-molecule inhibitor of the profilin 1-actin interaction. J Biol Chem. 2018 Feb 16;293(7):2606-2616.
  3. Colombo R, et al. Total Synthesis and Biological Evaluation of Tubulysin Analogues. J Org Chem. 2016 Nov 4;81(21):10302-10320.

Complete List of Publications

Shandong Wu, PhD
Assistant Professor of Radiology, Biomedical Informatics, and Bioengineering

Keywords:

  • Breast cancer imaging analysis
  • Big (health) data and artificial intelligence

Research:

Dr. Wu’s laboratory focuses on computational breast imaging, artificial intelligence, and clinical studies for investigating quantitative imaging-derived biomarkers, models, and systems for breast screening, risk assessment, diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment of breast cancer.

Selected Publications:

  1. Mohamed AA, et al. A deep learning method for classifying mammographic breast density categories. Med Phys. 2018 Jan;45(1):314-321.
  2. Wu S, et al. DCE-MRI Background Parenchymal Enhancement Quantified from an Early versus Delayed Post-contrast Sequence: Association with Breast Cancer Presence. Sci Rep. 2017 May 18;7(1):2115.
  3. Wu S, et al. Breast MRI contrast enhancement kinetics of normal parenchyma correlate with presence of breast cancer. Breast Cancer Res. 2016 Jul 22;18(1):76.

Complete List of Publications

Cancer Virology

Yuan Chang, MD
UPMC Chair in Cancer Virology Research
Distinguished and American Cancer Society Research Professor of Pathology

Keywords:

  • Tumor viruses
  • Kaposi's sarcoma associated herpesvirus (KSHV)
  • Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCV)
  • Digital transcriptome subtraction; tumor virus discovery

Research:

Drs. Chang and Moore's laboratory was the first to identify Kaposi’s sarcoma associated herpesvirus (KSHV/HHV8) and show that this virus was causally associated with Kaposi’s sarcoma. They have continued to study virus-host cell interactions in the context of dysregulation of pro-proliferative and anti-apoptotic pathways and recently identified the seventh human tumor virus, Merkel cell polyomavirus, from a Merkel cell carcinoma. They are the recipients of multiple awards, including the 1998 Robert Koch Prize, 2003 GMCRF Mott Prize, 2017 Paul Ehrlich Prize, 2017 Passano Prize, 2017 Clarivate Laureate and election to the National Academies of Science. (Funded by the ACS)

Selected Publications:

  1. Kwun HJ, et al. Merkel cell polyomavirus small T antigen induces genome instability by E3 ubiquitin ligase targeting. Oncogene. 2017 Dec 7;36(49):6838.
  2. Velásquez C, et al. Mitotic protein kinase CDK1 phosphorylation of mRNA translation regulator 4E-BP1 Ser83 may contribute to cell transformation. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2016 Jul 26;113(30):8466-71.
  3. Toptan T, et al. Survey for human polyomaviruses in cancer. JCI Insight. 2016 Feb;1(2).

Complete List of Publications

Shou-Jiang Gao, PhD
The Pittsburgh Foundation Endowed Chair in Drug Development for Immunotherapy
Professor of Microbiology & Molecular Genetics
Leader, Hillman Cancer Virology Program

Keywords:

  • Tumor viruses
  • Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus
  • Models of cellular transformation and tumorigenesis
  • Cancer drivers and cancer vulnerabilities
  • Cancer targets and deliveries
  • Epigenetics and epitranscriptomics
  • Inflammation and Angiogenesis
  • Cancer metabolism

Research:

Dr. Gao’s laboratory studies the biology of infection and oncogenesis of tumor viruses. The current focus is on Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) and its associated cancers. (Funded by the NCI and NIDCR)

Selected Publications:

  1. Gruffaz M, et al. Repurposing Cytarabine for Treating Primary Effusion Lymphoma by Targeting Kaposi's Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus Latent and Lytic Replications. MBio. 2018 May 8;9(3). pii: e00756-18.
  2. Tan B, et al. Viral and cellular N6-methyladenosine and N6,2'-O-dimethyladenosine epitranscriptomes in the KSHV life cycle. Nature Microbiol. 2018, 3:108-120.
  3. Gruffaz M, et al. TLR4-Mediated Inflammation Promotes KSHV-Induced Cellular Transformation and Tumorigenesis by Activating the STAT3 Pathway. Cancer Res. 2017 Dec 15;77(24):7094-7108

Complete List of Publications

Patrick Moore, MD, MPH
The Pittsburgh Foundation Endowed Chair in Innovative Cancer Research
Distinguished Professor of Microbiology & Molecular Genetics

Keywords:

  • Tumor viruses
  • Kaposi's sarcoma associated herpesvirus (KSHV)
  • Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCV)
  • Digital transcriptome subtraction
  • Tumor virus discovery

Research:

Drs. Moore and Yuan Chang’s laboratory investigates viral causes of human malignancy and identify new cancer-causing viruses. They discovered KSHV/HHV8 in 1994 and Merkel cell polyomavirus in 2008, two of the seven known human cancer viruses.  Drs. Moore and Chang’s major scientific honors include the 1998 Robert Koch Prize, 2003 GMCRF Mott Prize, 2017 Paul Ehrlich Prize, 2017 Passano Prize, 2017 Clarivate Laureate and election to the National Academies of Science.  Currently, projects in their laboratory focus on (1) expression and function of virus-encoded circular RNAs in KSHV- and EBV-related cancers; (2) Role of cellular SCF E3 ligases in maintaining small DNA tumor virus latency: (3) mitotic regulation of 4E-BP1-dependent translation, using in vitro and mouse models; and (4) new transcriptomic and proteomic approaches to discover human cancer viruses. (Funded by the NCI and ACS)

Selected Publications:

  1. Shuda M, et al. CDK1 substitutes for mTOR kinase to activate mitotic cap-dependent protein translation. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015 May 12;112(19):5875-82.
  2. Kwun HJ, et al. Protein-mediated viral latency is a novel mechanism for Merkel cell polyomavirus persistence. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2017 May 16;114(20):E4040-E4047.
  3. Feng, H., et al. Clonal integration of a polyomavirus in human Merkel cell carcinoma. Science 2008 319:1096-100.

Complete List of Publications

Kathy Shair, PhD
Assistant Professor of Microbiology & Molecular Genetics

Keywords:

  • Epstein-Barr virus
  • Nasopharyngeal carcinoma
  • B cell lymphoma
  • Cancer virology

Research:

Dr. Shair's laboratory focuses on understanding the oncogenic mechanisms of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) in virus-associated B and epithelial cell cancers, including nasopharyngeal carcinoma and post-transplant lymphomas. Current studies investigate the oncogenic properties of the EBV proteins, latent membrane protein (LMP) 1 and LMP2A, expressed in latently infected tumor cells. (Funded by the ACS)

Selected Publications:

  1. Wasil LR and Shair KH. A modified anoikis assay that functionally segregates LMP1 strains into two groups. J Virol. 2018 Jun; pii: JVI.00557-18. PMID 29950426 [Epub ahead of print].
  2. Caves EA, et al. An air liquid interface method to study EBV pathogenesis in nasopharyngeal epithelial cells. mSphere 2018; 3(4), in press. Commentary ed. Blossom Damania (in press).
  3. Shair KH, et al. New insights from elucidating the role of LMP1 in nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Cancers 2018; 19(4), doi:10.3390/cancers10040086.

Complete List of Publications

Genome Stability

Christopher J. Bakkenist, PhD
Associate Director, Education and Training, UPMC Hillman Cancer Center
Julius Paul and Freeda Greenberger Chair in Radiation Oncology Research
Associate Professor and Vice Chair for Basic Science, Radiation Oncology
Associate Professor of Pharmacology & Chemical Biology

Keywords:

  • Radiation biology
  • DNA repair
  • Immunology

Research:

ATM and ATR are DNA damage signaling kinases that regulate DNA replication and homologous recombination repair. Pharmacologic inhibitors of ATM and ATR kinase activity have been developed and these are predicted to increase the efficacy of genotoxic chemotherapy. The primary focus of the Bakkenist laboratory is to determine the mechanistic consequences of ATM and ATR kinase inhibition. (Funded by the NCI)

Selected Publications:

  1. Vendetti FP, et al. ATR kinase inhibitor AZD6738 potentiates CD8+ T cell activity in the tumor microenvironment following radiation. J Clin Invest. 2018, in press
  2. Moiseeva T, et al. ATR kinase inhibition induces unscheduled origin firing through a Cdc7-dependent association between GINS and And-1. Nat Commun. 2017 Nov 9; 8(1):1392.
  3. Vendetti FP, et al. Pharmacologic ATM but not ATR kinase inhibition abrogates p21-dependent G1 arrest and promotes gastrointestinal syndrome after total body irradiation. Sci Rep. 2017 Feb 1; 7:41892.

Complete List of Published Papers

Kara A. Bernstein, PhD
Associate Professor of Microbiology & Molecular Genetics

Keywords:

  • DNA repair
  • DNA recombination
  • Double-strand break repair
  • Gross chromosomal rearrangements

Research:

Dr. Bernstein’s laboratory deciphers how double-stranded breaks in DNA are repaired to better understand the mechanisms of tumorigenesis and cancer progression. They use cell biology, molecular, and genetic approaches to study the role of double-strand break repair proteins, such as the Shu complex and the Rad51 paralogs, in response to DNA damage. (Funded by the NIEHS)

Selected Publications:

  1. Godin SKet al. The Shu complex promotes error-free tolerance of alkylation-induced base excision repair products. Nucleic Acids Res. 2016 Sep 30;44(17):8199-215.
  2. Böhm S, et al. The Budding Yeast Ubiquitin Protease Ubp7 Is a Novel Component Involved in S Phase Progression. J Biol Chem. 2016 Feb 26;291(9):4442-52.
  3. Gaines WA, et al. Promotion of presynaptic filament assembly by the ensemble of S. cerevisiae Rad51 paralogues with Rad52. Nat Commun. 2015 Jul 28;6:7834.

Complete List of Publications

Yuri E. Nikiforov, MD, PhD
Professor and Vice Chair of Pathology
Director, Division of Molecular & Genomic Pathology

Keywords:

  • Thyroid cancer genetics
  • Chromosomal rearrangements
  • Radiation-induced carcinogenesis
  • Novel mutations in thyroid cancer
  • Next-generation sequencing
  • ALK

Research:

Dr. Nikiforov's laboratory focuses on thyroid cancer genetics and mechanisms of chromosomal rearrangements and other mutations induced by ionizing radiation in thyroid cells and other cell types. They are currently investigating the role of ALK fusions in thyroid cancer and their potential to serve as a therapeutic target. (Funded by the NCI)

Selected Publications:

  1. Nikiforova MN, et al. Analytical performance of the ThyroSeq v3 genomic classifier for cancer diagnosis in thyroid nodules. Cancer. 2018 Apr 15;124(8):1682-1690.
  2. Panebianco F, et al. THADA fusion is a mechanism of IGF2BP3 activation and IGF1R signaling in thyroid cancer. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2017 Feb 28;114(9):2307-2312.
  3. Evdokimova VN, et al. Nuclear myosin/actin-motored contact between homologous chromosomes is initiated by ATM kinase and homology-directed repair proteins at double-strand DNA breaks to suppress chromosome rearrangements. Oncotarget. 2018 Feb 7;9(17):13612-13622.

Complete List of Publications

Patricia Opresko, PhD
Professor of Environmental & Occupational Health and Pharmacology & Chemical Biology

Keywords:

  • Telomere
  • DNA damage and repair
  • Oxidative damage
  • Ultraviolet light
  • Carcinogenesis
  • Genomic instability
  • Aging

Research:

The goals of Dr. Opresko’s laboratory are to understand both the mechanisms of accelerated telomere loss and the cellular processes that preserve telomeric DNA. They use complementary cellular biology and biochemical techniques as well as fluorescent in situ hybridization techniques to investigate the consequences of DNA damage on telomere structure and integrity, and the actions of proteins that protect and repair the telomeres. (Funded by the NCI and NIEHS)

Selected Publications:

  1. Barnes RP, et al. The impact of oxidative DNA damage and stress on telomere homeostasis. Mech Ageing Dev. 2018 Mar 28. pii: S0047-6374(18)30052-6.
  2. Fouquerel E, et al. Oxidative guanine base damage regulates human telomerase activity. Nat Struct Mol Biol. 2016 Dec;23(12):1092-1100.
  3. Parikh D, et al. Telomeres are partly shielded from ultraviolet-induced damage and proficient for nucleotide excision repair of photoproducts. Nat Commun. 2015 Sep 9;6:8214.

Complete List of Publications

Roderick O’Sullivan, PhD
Assistant Professor of Pharmacology & Chemical Biology

Keywords:

  • Epigenetics
  • Telomeres
  • Aging
  • Cancer
  • DNA repair

Research:

Dr. O’Sullivan’s laboratory conducts research into proteins that alter the structural and epigenetic functions of human telomeres. Current efforts in the laboratory relate to deciphering the relationship between the regulation between chromatin structure and telomere function in the Alternative Lengthening of Telomeres (ALT) pathway. (Funded by the NCI)

Selected Publications:

  1. Garcia-Exposito L, et al. TZAP-ing telomeres down to size. EMBO Rep. 2017 Jun;18(6):861-863.
  2. Singhi AD, et al. Alternative Lengthening of Telomeres and Loss of DAXX/ATRX Expression Predicts Metastatic Disease and Poor Survival in Patients with Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumors. Clin Cancer Res. 2017 Jan 15;23(2):600-609.
  3. Garcia-Exposito L, et al. Proteomic Profiling Reveals a Specific Role for Translesion DNA Polymerase η in the Alternative Lengthening of Telomeres. Cell Rep. 2016 Nov 8;17(7):1858-1871

Complete List of Publications

Bennett Van Houten, PhD
Professor of Pharmacology & Chemical Biology
Co-Leader, Hillman Molecular and Cellular Cancer Biology Program
Associate Director for Basic Science Research, Aging Institute of UPMC Senior Services, and the University of Pittsburgh

Keywords:

  • DNA repair
  • Cancer pharmacology
  • Drug discovery
  • Redox pharmacology

Research:

Dr. Van Houten’s laboratory studies the formation and repair of DNA damage in nuclear and mitochondrial genomes. They are particularly interested in the structure and function of proteins that mediate nucleotide excision repair and the role of oxidative stress in human diseases, such as cancer. (Funded by the NCI and NIEHS)

Selected Publications:

  1. Liu L, et al. PARP1 changes from three-dimensional DNA damage searching to one-dimensional diffusion after auto-PARylation or in the presence of APE1. Nucleic Acids Res. 2017 Dec 15;45(22):12834-12847.
  2. Kong M, et al. Single-Molecule Methods for Nucleotide Excision Repair: Building a System to Watch Repair in Real Time. Methods Enzymol. 2017;592:213-257
  3. Kong M, et al. Single-Molecule Imaging Reveals that Rad4 Employs a Dynamic DNA Damage Recognition Process. Mol Cell. 2016 Oct 20;64(2):376-387.

Complete List of Publications

Jian Yu, PhD
Professor of Pathology and Radiation Oncology

Keywords:

  • Apoptosis
  • Drug discovery
  • Cancer biology
  • Intestinal stem cells
  • Signal transduction
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Bcl-2

Research:

Dr. Yu’s laboratory is currently exploring driver-mediated translation and metabolic addictions to increase immunogenic cell death and therapeutic responses, focusing on APC/Myc and RAS/RAF pathways. Related studies include rational combination of agents and biomarker discovery for predicting therapeutic responses. (Funded by the NCI and NIAID)

Selected Publications:

  1. Leibowitz BJet al. Targeting p53-dependent stem cell loss for intestinal chemoprotection. Science translational medicine. 2018; 10(427).
  2. Li Xet al. Co-targeting translation and proteasome rapidly kills colon cancer cells with mutant RAS/RAF via ER stress. Oncotarget. 2017; 8(6):9280-9292
  3. Wei L, et al. Inhibition of CDK4/6 protects against radiation-induced intestinal injury in mice. The Journal of clinical investigation. 2016; 126(11):4076-4087.

Complete List of Publications

Lin Zhang, PhD
Professor of Pharmacology & Chemical Biology

Keywords:

  • Colorectal cancer
  • Chemotherapy
  • Chemoprevention
  • Apoptosis
  • Necroptosis
  • p53
  • PUMA
  • APC
  • Targeted therapy
  • Oncogene
  • Tumor suppressor

Research:

A central goal of Dr. Zhang’s laboratory is to understand how anticancer drugs kill cancer cells, and more importantly, why cancer cells are so often resistant to cell death in order to identify novel molecular targets and treatment strategies to improve cancer chemotherapy and chemoprevention. (Funded by the NCI)

Selected Publications:

  1. Tong J, et al. Mcl-1 phosphorylation without degradation mediates sensitivity to HDAC inhibitors by liberating BH3-only proteins. Cancer research. 2018; PubMed [journal] PMID:29895675
  2. Knickelbein K, et al. Restoring PUMA induction overcomes KRAS-mediated resistance to anti-EGFR antibodies in colorectal cancer. Oncogene. 2018; PubMed [journal] PMID: 29755130
  3. Chen D, et al. PUMA amplifies necroptosis signaling by activating cytosolic DNA sensors. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2018; 115(15):3930-3935

Complete List of Publications