News and Media
Dr. Raghu Kalluri becomes new director of the Office for Training and Mentoring of Scientists at MD Anderson. Dr. Kalluri will lead the efforts and provide oversight for the mentorship and training of MD Anderson’s GSBS graduate students, laboratory-based postdoctoral fellows, as well as laboratory-based junior faculty.
Dr. Traver Hart with the Departments of Cancer Biology and Bioinformatics and Computations Biology was awarded the title of Assistant Professor.
- Dr. Di Zhao, postdoctoral fellow in the DePinho lab, has been recognized as a "Rising Star" by the NIH, and was invited to present a talk at the NCI as part of their Rising Star Lecture Series.
- Dr. Katharina Schlacher, assistant professor, was invited to give a talk at the NCI.
- Dr. Raghu Kalluri was invited to give talks at the Stanley S. Scott Cancer Center, School of Medicine at Louisiana State University, at the Institute of Oncology Research (IOR) in Switzerland, and at the Frontiers in Tumor Matrix Interactions Symposium, Kimmel Medical School at Thomas Jefferson University. Dr. Kalluri was also the opening lecturer at the Mesenchymal Cells in Inflammation, Immunity and Cancer (EMBO) conference in Athens, Greece.
- Jennifer Yang, Sr. Secretary, was selected to perform at MDACC’s Anderson’s Got Talent event and will be having lunch with Dr. Pisters.
We hosted the following events:
- Distinguished Lectureship in Cancer Biology with Joseph Schlessinger, Ph.D. from Yale University School of Medicine and Yale Cancer Center presented the lecture “Endocrine Fibroblast Growth Factors: from Basic Mechanisms to Therapeutic Opportunities” and a Chalk Talk “A Basic Scientist’s Perspective for Starting Multiple Successful Biotech Companies.”
- Cancer Biology Wednesday Seminar Series, Andrea Viale, M.D. from the Dept. of Genomic Medicine, MDACC, presented the seminar “Tissue Damage, Inflammation and Pancreatic Cancer: Eventually Oncogenic KRAS is Not All Bad”, and Don Gibbons, M.D., Ph.D. from the Dept. of Thoracic/Head and Neck Medical Oncology, MDACC, presented the seminar “Tumor Heterogeneity and Plasticity in KRAS Mutant NSCLC.”
- We celebrated Employee Appreciation Month throughout the month of May. During our last event, Dr. Kalluri presented the 2019 Employee Opinion Survey to the department, and hosted a Q&A for open dialogue. He also presented Cancer Biology Performance Awards to 18 nominated classified staff.
Manuscripts accepted for publication:
- Laudato S, Aparicio A, Giancotti FG. Clonal evolution and epithelial plasticity in the emergence of AR-independent prostate cancer. Trends in Cancer, In Press.
- Su W, Han HH, Wang Y, Zhang B, Zhou B, Cheng Y, Chakraborty G, Su J, Yang G, Wang G, Rosen N, Scher H, Ouerfelli O, Giancotti FG. Targeting PRC1 Suppresses Double Negative Prostate Cancer Metastasis by Inhibiting Stemness and Reversing Immune Suppression. Cancer Cell, In Press.
The Department of Cancer Biology is delighted to report the following accomplishments for April 2019:
• Dr. Yejing Ge, Assistant Professor, was selected as panelist speaker on career development at the Gordon Research Seminar “Epithelial Differentiation and Keratinization”.
• Dr. Katharina Schlacher, Assistant Professor, was invited to give a talk at the 18th annual AT workshop.
• Dr. Katharina Schlacher was invited as a presenter for a round table discussion at the FASEB Mitochondrial workshop on “Targeting mitochondrial DNA mutations to treat mitochondrial genetic diseases".
• Jessica Lutzwick, post-doctoral fellow in the Schlacher lab, was selected to give an oral presentation at the 18th annual AT workshop.
• Dr. Katharina Schlacher’s LOI was selected for full proposal submission for a $1M grant to the Marthers foundation.
• Dr. Kalluri was invited to give a talk, “Basic Biology and Therapeutic Development of Engineered Exosomes for the Treatment of Cancer” at the AACR-JCA Joint Symposium on Exosomes and Cancer at the AACR Annual Meeting in Atlanta, GA. He also chaired the Exosomes in Cancer session.
• Dr. Kalluri was the keynote speaker at International Congress, Practical Knowledge for Students at University of Split in Split, Croatia.
• Dr. Kalluri was invited to give a talk, “Engineering Exosomes for Therapy of Cancer” at ISEV Education Day in Kyoto, Japan.
• Dr. Kalluri was invited to give a talk, “Functions and Clinical Significance of Exosomes in Cancer” at the OncoSET-ISLB Conference in Chicago, IL.
• Dr. DePinho was nominated for the Robert M. Chamberlain Distinguished Mentor Award.
• Dr. DePinho was invited to speak at the Impact Investing in Healthcare Innovation meeting.
• Dr. DePinho was invited to attend the National Academy of Sciences 156th Annual Meeting and the NFCR’s 2019 Szent-Gyorgyi Prize Dinner and Award Ceremony.
We hosted the following events:
• Distinguished Lectureship in Cancer Biology with Tak Wah Mak, Ph.D. from Princess Margaret Cancer Center at the University of Toronto who presented the lecture “Fire and Water are Good Servants But Bad Masters” and a Chalk Talk “What is the Next Candle to be Lit for Cancer Treatment?”
• Cancer Biology Wednesday Seminar Series, Debasish Tripathy, M.D. from MDACC, who presented the seminar “Targeting the Cell Cycle in Breast Cancer.”
• Cancer Biology Wednesday Seminar Series, Qingchun Tong, Ph.D. from The University of Texas Health Science Center who presented the seminar “Mapping Neurocircuits for Emotional Eating.”
Paper published this month:
Wenting Liao, Michael J. Overman, Adam T. Boutin, Xiaoying Shang, Di Zhao, Prasenjit Dey, Jiexi Li, Guocan Wang, Zhengdao Lan, Jun Li, Ming Tang, Shan Jiang, Xingdi Ma, Peiwen Chen, Riham Katkhuda, Krittiya Korphaisarn, Deepavali Chakravarti, Andrew Chang, Denise J. Spring, Qing Chang, Jianhua Zhang, Dipen M. Maru, Dean Y. Maeda, John A. Zebala, Scott Kopetz, Y. Alan Wang, and Ronald A. DePinho. KRAS-IRF2 axis drives immune suppression and immune therapy resistance in colorectal cancer. Cancer Cell, 2019; Apr 15; 35(4):559-572.e7
Manuscript accepted for publication:
Peiwen Chen, Di Zhao, Jun Li, Xin Liang, Jiexi Li, Andrew Chang, Verlene K. Henry, Zhengdao Lan, Denise J. Spring, Ganesh Rao, Y. Alan Wang and Ronald A. DePinho. Symbiotic macrophage-glioma cell interactions reveal synthetic lethality in PTEN null glioma. Cancer Cell, 2019.
The department submitted 5 grant applications ($541,096 in direct cost), and was awarded two new awards ($175,000 in direct cost).
Ongoing educational activities includes Monday Journal Club, Wednesday Seminar Series, and Friday Social and Networking Hour (invited guests this month were Dr. Michael Curran and lab [Immunology], and Dr. Nick Navin and lab [Genetics]).
A new review article online from Jonathan Cooper (mentor: Filippo G. Giancotti) at Cancer Cell: "Integrin Signaling in Cancer: Mechanotransduction, Stemness, Epithelial Plasticity and Therapeutic Resistance."
Our faculty were invited to give talks and presentations at the following:
- Raghu Kalluri, M.D., Ph.D., presented at the AACR-JCA Joint Conference. He also presented at the Cancer Research Institute Ghent in Belgium, and at the 2nd Annual Symposium on Pancreatic Cancer.
- Ronald DePinho, M.D., was invited to speak at the Lake Nona Institute Forum. He also presented at the 2nd Annual Symposium on Pancreatic Cancer.
- Katharina Schlacher, Ph.D., presented on Mammalian DNA Repair at the Gordon Research Conference. She also presented at the Fusion Conference and the 3rd Annual Exploring DNA Repair Pathways as Targets for Cancer Therapy Conference.
Cancer Biology welcomes two assistant professors joining the department
The Cancer Biology department welcomes Yejing Ge, Ph.D., and Fuguo Jiang, Ph.D., joining the department as tenure-track assistant professors. Ge trained at the Rockefeller University with Elaine Fuchs, Ph.D., working on skin epithelial stem cells and squamous cell carcinomas. Jiang trained at University of California, Berkeley with Jennifer Doudna, Ph.D., working on molecular and functional mechanisms of CRISPR.
Menashe Bar-Eli awarded new R21 NIH grant with a score of one percentile
Ronald A. DePinho awarded R01 funding by the NIH to study colorectal cancer
Ronald A. DePinho, M.D., was awarded R01 funding by the NIH to study colorectal cancer ("Genetics and Biology of Metastatic Colorectal Cancer”). The goal of this project is to dissect the mechanistic actions of oncogenic Kras and its circuitry in controlling CRC immune biology with the goal of illuminating effective therapeutic strategies for testing in CRC patients.
Ronald A. DePinho awarded R01 funding by the NIH to study pancreatic cancer
Ronald A. DePinho was awarded R01 funding by the NIH to study collateral lethality targets in pancreatic cancer ("Exploring Collateral Lethality for Development of Cancer Therapeutics"). This project aims to validate mitochondrial malic enzyme 3 (ME3) as a therapeutic target using in vitro analyses and preclinical animal models and to identify potential therapeutic compounds targeting ME3.
Rumi Lee awarded T32 Training Grant
Rumi Lee, Ph.D. candidate, in DePinho’s lab, was awarded a T32 Training Grant in Cancer Biology to study the synthetic essentiality of TDO2 in APC-mutated colorectal cancer.
Fatma Betul Aksoy Yasar receives Smith Education Fund
Fatma Betul Aksoy Yasar, Ph.D. candidate, in the Jian Hu, Ph.D., lab, was awarded the 2019 Smith Education Fund.
Seula Shin receives Russell and Dianna Hawkins Family Foundation Discovery Fellowship
Seula Shin, Ph.D. candidate, in Hu’s lab, was awarded the 2018-2019 Russell and Dianna Hawkins Family Foundation Discovery Fellowship.
Jian Hu receives NCI Young Faculty MERIT Award
Jian Hu, Ph.D., received the NCI Young Faculty Method to Extend Research in Time (MERIT)(R37) Award that provides longer term grant support to Early Stage Investigators (ESIs).
Jian Hu receives Sontag Foundation Distinguished Scientist Award
Jian Hu, Ph.D., received the Sontag Foundation Distinguished Scientist Award, which provides career and research support to early career scientists who demonstrate outstanding promise for making scientific and medical breakthroughs in the field of brain cancer research.
The Cancer Biology department invites distinguished speakers for giving lectures, followed by a “chalk talk”, featuring the speakers’ stories in their career and scientific pursuit. Keep tuned with new sessions of sciChat!