Today is Wednesday, Jun. 28, 2017

Department of

Cancer Biology

Internal Announcements

Congratulations Madeline Niederkorn and Sonya Ruiz-Torres as the joint-recipients of the 2017 Robert and Emma Lou Cardell Fellowship.

madeline_niederkornMadeline’s (Daniel Starczynowski’s Lab) thesis work aims to uncover biological and molecular functions of TIFAB and to understand how its loss contributes to the pathogenesis of del(5q) myeloid malignancies. TIFAB is normally expressed in healthy hematopoietic cells, but is deleted by loss of chromosome 5q in myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Madeline’s work investigates TIFAB interactions with USP15 and p53. p53 expression and function are aberrantly active in TIFAB-deficient mice, rendering hematopoietic cells sensitive to cellular stress, and impairing hematopoietic function. Madeline’s work provides a novel molecular basis for therapeutic opportunities in del(5q) MDS and AML.

sonya_ruiz-torresSonya’s (Susa Wells’ Lab) work aims to determine the effect of loss of function of the Fanconi Anemia (FA) DNA repair pathway  on human  squamous epithelial development and carcinogenesis. Inherited mutations in FA pathway genes cause the genome instability disorder FA, wherein affected individuals have a unique susceptibility to the development of squamous cell carcinomas (SCC) of the skin, head and neck, and anogenital tissues. Sonya established a patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cell system with conditional functionality of the FA pathway as a source of epidermal stem and progenitor cells (ESPCs) to model FA pathway loss on mucosa and skin development. Results reveal proliferation and novel cell adhesion defects leading to impaired tissue integrity in the FA pathway- deficient epidermis. Moreover, her studies suggest a role for the AKT/GSK-3β/β-catenin  signaling  axis in  driving  these  aberrant phenotypes, opening a door for the design of treatments for solid tumors in these patients.

The Program sincerely thanks Dr. and Mrs. Cardell for their continued support of the CCB Graduate Program and for honoring excellence in cancer and cell biological research. Bob Cardell was the former Chair of Cell Biology and the founder of the departmental graduate program. During his tenure, he built the Department into a nationally recognized research unit and later served as Associate Dean for Graduate Education. Emma Lou Cardell was an outstanding electron microscopist, histologist, and teacher. They established the Cardell Fellowship in 1999 through a gift to the UC Foundation that supports an annual cash prize for the recipient. This year each recipient will receive $1,500 to use for professional development, and will give a special Departmental seminar during the Fall semester.

Many thanks also go out to the dedicated and thoughtful members of the Selection Committee: Drs. Dave Plas (Chair), Zalfa Abdel-Malek, Chunying Du, David Hildeman, and Marie Matrka. In addition to reviewing the applications and selecting the recipients, the Committee has been instrumental in providing feedback on the content, form and process for the fellowship that have materially improved the Fellowship procedures.

Sonya and Maddie, congratulations on your hard work and impressive achievements!

 


Congratulations to Kris Alavattam, who was recently named an Albert J. Ryan Fellow for 2017-2018

kris_alavattamKris graduated from Kettering College in 2013 with a B.Sc. in Human Biology. During his undergraduate studies. he completed a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship at Cincinnati Children's with Dr. Satoshi Namekawa. He then joined the Namekawa laboratory as a full time research assistant in 2013. At that time, Kris' studies focused on the mechanisms of DNA damage response and epigenetic events during mammalian reproduction. These studies resulted in a co-first author publication in the Journal of Cell Biology (Broering & Alavattam et al., 2014). In that work, Kris and colleagues revealed important functions for the protein BRCA1 in male germ cell development.

Encouraged by his success, and with a growing passion for research, Kris entered the CCB Graduate Program to pursue a Ph.D.in 2014.Continuing under the mentorship of Dr. Namekawa, Kris expanded his focus to the functions of the Fanconi anemia/BRCA pathway in male germ cell development. This research led to a coauthor article that characterizes the function of FANCB in the male germline (Human Molecular Genetics; Kato et al., 2015) as well as a lead author study in Cell Reports (Alavattam et al., 2016).This work provided several mechanistic insights into the function and regulation of the Fanconi anemia/BRCA pathway, revealing new links between DNA damage response and epigenetic programming, and establishing the sex chromosomes in male germ cells as a model to dissect DNA damage response pathways. Kris has also begun to have an impact on a separate project targeted at understanding the regulation of gene expression during germ cell development. Kris seeks to define the molecular mechanisms that coordinate nuclear organization and large-scale gene expression changes in male germ cell development. This line of research has already resulted in a coauthor manuscript (Developmental Cell; Hasegawa et al., 2015) and will continue to be developed as the basis for Kris' dissertation research.

"The Albert J. Ryan Fellowship was established in 1967 by Alice M. Ryan of Cincinnati in memory of her father. Ms. Ryan wished to recognize and encourage the development of students at Dartmouth College, Harvard University. and the University of Cincinnati who show promise of becoming research scholars and who show the capacity to contribute to the advancement of medical science." - Albert J. Ryan Foundation


Welcome To Our New Students

2016 New CCB Graduate Students

We would like to welcome this year's Cancer & Cell Biology Graduate Students.  Camille Sullivan, Ayusman Dash, Brian Hunt, Ying Qing and James Bartram joined the program on Monday, July 11th. We are very excited for this group to start their research rotations immediately and course work in August.  


 

Jordan Althoff

Congratulations to Jordon Althoff

Jordon Althoff (in Dr. Jose Cancelas' lab at CCHMC) who was recently named as a University of Cincinnati Albert J. Ryan Fellow. Jordan received a Bachelor degree in Biomedical Sciences from Murray State University in 2013. As an undergraduate, Jordan successfully competed to obtain funding to study a functionally redundant aminopeptidase family and its necessity for the reproductive success of Caenorhabditis elegans under the mentorship of Dr. Chris Trzepacz (University of Cincinnati College of Medicine PhD graduate and former Ryan Fellow) which culminated in a first author publication. He gained additional research experience working on molecular mechanisms that drive Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia with Dr. Charles Mullighan at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital (Pediatric Oncology Education Program).

In the summer of 2013,Jordan joined the UC Graduate Program in Cancer and Cell Biology and is currently pursuing his PhD under the mentorship of Dr. Jose A. Cancelas at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center (CCHMC). Dr. Cancelas' research focuses on the cellular and molecular mechanisms of hematopoietic stem cell homing, migration and differentiation through Rac GTPase signaling in both health and leukemia. The laboratory is also actively investigating the physiological cell-autonomous and microenvironment/cytokine dependent mechanisms that control hematopoiesis with the hope that they can identify novel targets that can be used clinically to improve stem cell transplantation efficacy and ameliorate HSC diseases. Jordan's thesis work investigates how the bone marrow microenvironment affects various cell polarity regulators that define quiescent HSC polarization and self-renewal ability. Cell polarity is one of the most basic properties of all living cells and plays a pivotal role in HSC biology, regulating its quiescence, fate determination and function. Preliminary work from his project has secured him an NIH fellowship (F-31) from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute for the remainder or his training and development.

“The Albert J. Ryan Fellowship was established in 1967 by Alice M. Ryan of Cincinnati in memory of her father. Miss Ryan wished to recognize and encourage the development of students at Dartmouth College, Harvard University and the University of Cincinnati who show promise of becoming research scholars and who show the capacity to contribute to the advancement of medical science.” −Ryan Foundation.


2016 Robert and Emma Lou Cardell Fellowship Winner Announced!

Sasha Ruiz-TorresCongratulations to Sasha Ruiz-Torres, CCB Graduate Student in Dr. Susan Waltz's lab, who has been name this year's Cardell Fellow. The Cardell Fellowship honors excellence in Cancer & Cell biological Research. Bob Cardell was Chair of Cell Biology for many years, building the Department into a nationally-recognized research unit, was the founder of the graduate program and was later Associate Dean for Graduate Education. Emma Lou Cardell was an outstanding electron microscopist, histologist and teacher. The Cardell Fellowship includes a $2,500 cash award that the recipient can use to further his/her professional development. In addition, the Fellow give a special Departmental seminar attended by the Cardell's.

 

Congratulations to ...

Nick Brown  Raghav Pandey

Congratulations to Nick Brown, (Waltz lab) and Raghav Pandey, (Habeebahmed Lab) Cancer & Cell Biology Graduate Students, on receiving this year's University Research Council (URC) Graduate Student Research Fellowship. There were 109 applicants to this year's fellowship with only 22% of the proposals reviewed were funded.  Great job Nick and Raghav for a great job in receiving this Fellowship!


Sasaki Receives Health Research Rising Star Award

Atsuo Sasaki, PhD, assistant professor in the Division of Hematology Oncology and member of the Brain Tumor Center at the UC Neuroscience Institute and UC Cancer Institute, has been chosen as the College of Medicine Health Research Rising Star Award Recipient. Sasaki will represent the college during Research Week 2016, April 18-22.

Research Week celebrates health-related research across the University of Cincinnati. Events include seminars, speakers, panels, poster sessions, expositions, competitions and workshops. Researchers, care providers, research participants, students, government leadership, local and national dignitaries and business leadership are all participating.

The Research Week 2016 opening ceremony will recognize rising stars in health research, an honor given to one junior faculty member in each college or affiliate. In addition to being recognized at the opening ceremony, a number of activities are planned throughout Research Week to enhance the visibility and impact of the awardees.


$1.8M NCI Award Helps Researcher Study Protein's Effect on Breast Cancer

CINCINNATI - Xiaoting Zhang, PhD, Associate Professor in the Department of Cancer Biology at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, has received a $1.8 million, five-year, R01 award (R01CA197865) from the National Cancer Institute to continue breast cancer research focusing on the function of the protein MED1 on HER2-positive breast cancer.

Cancer Biology Researcher Named 2015 AAAS Fellow

UC's Carolyn Price is being honored for her contributions to the field of telomere biology as a 2015 fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Date: 11/23/2015 11:00:00 AM
By: Katie Pence
Phone: 558-6052

DNA is the basis of existence for all living organisms.

When something goes wrong in DNA, which is made up of thousands of other components, it can cause any number of problems in a person's overall health.

That's why Carolyn Price's research is so important, and that's one of the reasons she has been named a 2015 fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Specifically, Price, PhD, who is a professor in the Department of Cancer Biology, is being honored for her contributions to the field of telomere biology in the area of telomere replication.

Her lab focuses on the structure and function of telomeres, the DNA-protein complexes that cap the ends of chromosomes. Telomeres are essential for genome stability as defects in their structure and/or failure to fully replicate the telomeric DNA lead to chromosome shortening and end-to-end fusion of chromosomes. This loss of telomere function can cause bone marrow failure and lung disease.

"I'm honored to be selected for such a prestigious distinction," she says. "Many esteemed colleagues have been named AAAS fellows, and I'm proud to be part of that group and happy that the importance of my research has been recognized."

Price received her PhD from the University of Colorado Medical Center in 1985 and completed her postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1988, where she focused on telomere biology in Thomas Cech's lab.

The AAAS has awarded the distinction of fellow to 347 of its members this year. These individuals have been elevated to this rank because of their efforts toward advancing science applications that are deemed scientifically or socially distinguished.

Price and the additional new fellows, which include UC's David Lentz, PhD, from the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences, and Marc Cahay, PhD, from the College of Engineering and Applied Science, will be presented with an official certificate and a gold and blue rosette pin on Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, at the AAAS Fellows Forum during the 2016 AAAS annual meeting in Washington, D.C.


COM Office of Graduate Education Honors Student Researchers

The Office of Graduate Education in the College of Medicine hosted the 36th annual Graduate Student Research Forum Oct. 27, 2015. The forum brings together graduate students, postdoctoral students and faculty for a poster session, speaker and awards ceremony.

This year’s event drew 81 student poster presenters, as well as 56 faculty and postdoctoral judges to the CARE/Crawley Atrium for scientific discourse. Each student poster was scored by two different non-affiliated judges, and the scores were combined to determine the top presenters.

After the morning poster session, students and faculty enjoyed the event’s keynote speaker, Bruce McEwen, PhD, Alfred E. Mirsky Professor, the Rockefeller University.  He presented the talk "Sex, Stress and the Brain: Hormone Actions over the Life Course via Novel Mechanisms.”

Graduate students in UC programs also received awards for their poster presentations.

Two first-place awards were given to Carolyn Rydyznski, immunology and Eric Smith, Cancer and Cell Biology and the MSTP Program. Second place was awarded to Nina Bertaux-Skeirik, systems biology and physiology, and third-place honors went to Marie Matrka, Cancer and Cell Biology. Four students were received honorable mentions: Vicky Gomez, molecular and developmental biology; Brittany Kopp, neuroscience; Amanda Stover, MPH in biostatistics, and Raghav Pandey, Cancer and Cell Biology.

Mark Baccei, PhD, associate professor in the Neuroscience Graduate Program, was awarded the Richard Akeson Excellence in Graduate Teaching Award.


Congratulations to Adam Price

MCK croppedAdam Price, a Senior at Xavier University, conducting his senior research project in the laboratory of Dr. Maria Czyzyk-Krzeska in the Department of Cancer Biology won First Prize for poster presentation at the Sixth BHD Symposium and First International Upstate Kidney Cancer Symposium that took place on September 23-26, in Syracuse, New York. The poster title is “ VHL and FLCN tumor suppressors are positive regulator of autophagic program targeting midbodies for lysosomal degradation”. The work was co-authored by Adam D. Price, Megan E. Bischoff, Emily Stepanchick, Birgit Ehmer, Johnson Chu, Jarek Meller and Maria F. Czyzyk-Krzeska.


Eric Smith 2015 Recipient of the Robert and Emma Lou Cardell Fellowship

Great kudos to G3 student Eric Smith (in Susa Well’s lab), this year’s recipient of the Robert and Emma Lou Cardell Fellowship, which honors excellence in cancer and cell biological research.

Eric’s thesis work aims to determine a mechanistic function of the DEK oncogene in DNA repair. DEK is highly overexpressed in most tumor types, and the degree of overexpression is associated with advance stage disease, poor clinical outcomes, and chemotherapy resistance. Conversely, loss of DEK restores sensitivity to DNA-damaging chemotherapeutics. However, the mechanism linking the biochemistry of the DNA-binding and chromatin modifying DEK protein to chemoresistance remains unknown. Eric’s work demonstrated that DEK loss severely cripples the homologous recombination repair pathway. Eric pinpointed the site of DEK action by determining that DEK interacts with RPA and RAD51, opening a clear avenue towards the development of therapeutic small molecule inhibitors. The Selection Committee was particularly impressed with the potential impact of these findings.

Dr. and Mrs. Cardell established the Fellowship in 1999 and it is awarded each year to an advanced student in the Cancer and Cell Biology Graduate Program. Bob Cardell was Chair of Cell Biology for many years, building the Department into a nationally-recognized research unit, and was later Associate Dean for Graduate Education. Emma Lou Cardell was an outstanding electron microscopist, histologist and teacher. The Cardell Fellowship includes a $2,500 cash award that the recipient can use to further his/her professional development. In addition, the Fellow gives a special Departmental seminar attended by the Cardells.

Eric, congratulations and thanks for your hard work and impressive achievements!


Cancer & Cell Biology Graduate Students Stand Out at 2015 GSRF Poster Forum

The Office of Graduate Education hosted its 35th annual Graduate Student Research Forum on Friday, March 6, 2015. The forum brings together graduate students, postdoctoral students and faculty for a poster session, speaker and awards ceremony. This year’s event drew 55 student poster presenters, as well as 30 faculty and postdoctoral judges, to the CARE/Crawley Atrium for lively scientific discussions.

Each graduate student poster was scored by two different non-affiliated judges, and the scores were combined to determine the top presenters. First-place award went to Rahul D’Mello, in the Medical Scientist Training Program Division of Immunology, Allergy and Rheumatology, while second-place prizes were awarded to Marie Matrka in the graduate program of Cancer and Cell Biology and Carolyn Rydyznski in the Division of Immunology, Allergy and Rheumatology. Third- place honors were awarded to Alexander Ross in the Department of Pharmacology and Cell Biophysics and Jennifer Schwanekamp in the Department of Molecular Genetics, Biochemistry and Microbiology.

Honorable mentions include: Mark Althoff and Nicholas Brown, both in the graduate program in Cancer Biology; Catherine Chaton, Swati Tiwari and Cameron McDaniel, all in the Department of Molecular Genetics, Biochemistry and Microbiology; George Gardner in the Department of Pharmacology and Cell Biophysics; and Jared Klarquist in the Division of Immunology, Allergy and Rheumatology.


Ben-Jonathan Featured on Fox 19

Dr. Nira Ben-Jonathan Professor of Cancer Biology, talks about her recent breast cancer research on Fox 19.


Guan Article Named ‘Most Read’ by Journal

An article by Jun-Lin Guan, PhD, Francis Brunning Endowed Chair and professor of cancer biology, was recently listed as on of the "Most Read Articles" in the past five days from the journal Genes and Development. Guan was senior author of the paper "p62/SQSTM1 synergizes with autophagy for tumor growth in vivo" and co-authored it with colleagues from the University of Michigan Medical School and Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center.


Czyzyk-Krzeska Wins College of Medicine Planning Grant

The UC College of Medicine announces the first awardees of the College of Medicine Planning Grants. Our own Dr. Maria Czyzyk-Kreska, Professor in the Department of Cancer Biology with an affiliation at the Cincinnati Department of Veterans Affairs medical Center is one of the two recipients of this award. 

Dr. Czyzyk-Krzeska was awarded $25,000 for her proposal.  She will work with co-principal investigators David Hui, PhD, Professor in the Department of Pathology and Michael Borchers, PhD, Associate Professor in Internal Medicine and collaborating investigators Patrick Limbach, PhD, Chemistry and Jaroslaw Meller, PhD, Environmental Health and Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center to obtain pilot data directly supporting a novel collaborative and interdisciplinary research program studying the connection between the effects of two recognized risk factors in cancer: tobacco smoking and obesity.  "Molecular Mechanisms by Which Tobacco Smoke (TS) and Obesity (OB) Predispose to Cancer Development.


Waltz to Serve on NIH Study Section

Susan Waltz, PhD, professor of cancer biology, has been asked to serve on the Cancer Molecular Pathology Study Section for the National Institutes of Health, for the term beginning July 1, 2014 and ending June 30, 2020.

The Cancer Molecular Pathobiology [CAMP] Study Section reviews applications involving the pathology of the malignant cell with the emphasis on mechanisms controlling cell growth and death, and the molecular events in gene regulation. Emphasis is on pathological approaches to oncogenesis and the basic cellular events involving growth of transformed cells in animal models, with more translational studies in human cells.


Plas Invited to Serve on NIH Study Section

David Plas, PhD, associate professor of cancer biology, has accepted an invitation to serve on the Tumor Cell Biology Study Section, Center for Scientific Review at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Study sections review grant applications submitted to the NIH, make recommendations to the appropriate NIH national advisory council or board and survey the status of research in their fields of science.

Members are selected on the basis of their demonstrated competence and achievement in their scientific discipline as evidenced by the quality of research accomplishments, publications in scientific journals and other significant scientific activities, achievements and honors.


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