Our training grant faculty is composed of 14 primary training grant mentors who are well respected researchers with outstanding records of education and training as well as five co-mentors who are young assistant professors with exciting research programs and who add significantly to our teaching curriculum and will train students and postdoctoral fellows in concert with more senior training grant faculty.
Ann Killary, Ph.D., is the program director of the T32 training program along with Dr. Wistuba who is the co-program director for the program. Her laboratory is interested in functional genomic approaches to elucidate the genetic mechanisms underlying the initiation and progression of breast cancer. Her lab is currently focusing on the characterization of a novel tumor suppressor and polarity regulator DEAR1 discovered in her laboratory and its role in the development and progression of breast and pancreatic cancers as well as its mutation/loss of function as a biomarker of poor prognosis in breast cancer.
In addition, her laboratory is investigating the earliest pathways
aberrant in pancreatic cancer for biomarker discovery. As a PI of a
biomarker discovery laboratory through the NCI’s Early Detection
Research Network, her laboratory developed a functional genomic
pathways based approach for biomarker discovery that has led to
biomarker panels that detect early stage pancreatic cancer in the
initiation and development, recruited immune cells establish a dynamic and close interaction with the neoplastic epithelium as well as with the fibrotic stroma, ultimately affecting tumor behavior. Her lab has taken several approaches: 1) Use of genetically-engineered mouse (GEM) models that mimic the development of human pancreatic cancer to dissect the role of immune cells in the regulation of cancer development; 2) Generation of GEM-immune reporter mice with the goal of performing multi-parametric cell sorting on particular types of immune cells at early and late stage of tumorigenesis for transcriptome analysis and for imaging studies aimed to determine cellular location and dynamics; 3) Utilization of bone marrow transplantation to test the functionality of specific immune cells or molecules in GEM models of pancreatic cancer; and, 4) Molecular characterization of the immune and epithelial human cells obtained from patients with pre-neoplastic lesions and pancreatic cancer to confirm the human significance of the experimental findings.
Dr. Krahe is using integrated approaches combining genomic and epigenomic profiling to dissect the complex genetic and epigenetic events underlying LFS tumorigenesis. To dissect the pathophysiological consequences of variant genes, his laboratory is generating suitable LFS mouse models. LFS predisposition and/or modifier genes may also be functionally important in other tumor types lacking a clear genetic predisposition. The molecular characterization and classification of sporadic cancers (head and neck and lung cancer, and gliomas) through genomics methodologies to identify genomic, epigenomic and transcriptomic changes underlying tumor initiation, progression and metastasis is another focus.