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Twelve New Members Join DF/HCC

Twelve individuals have recently joined DF/HCC. See below to learn more about these scientists and their research interests.

S. Bryn Austin, ScD (CHB)
Cancer Risk Reduction Program

Research focus: the examination of social and physical environmental influences on cancer risk behaviors in adolescents and young adults. Areas of specialization include overweight, disordered weight control behaviors, tobacco and alcohol use, and other behaviors in adolescents and young adults with consequences for cancer and chronic disease risk. Related interests include health disparities, particularly sexual orientation group disparities in health exposures and outcomes.

Yi-Bin Chen, MD (MGH)
Cancer Immunology Program; Leukemia Program

Research focus: the trafficking roles Alpha4beta7 (a4b7) integrin and CCR9 play in the initial allogeneic interaction which leads to Intestinal graft-versus-host disease, and whether these are valid targets to exploit for monitoring, prevention, and therapeutic applications.

Edwin Choy, MD, PhD (MGH)
Sarcoma Program

Research focus: translational research in sarcoma and connective tissue oncology. Specific interests include utilizing high-throughput genotyping technology to understand the molecular basis of sarcomas in order to gain insight into novel therapeutic options for patients who otherwise have no treatment alternatives, and testing agents in patient populations such as a currently enrolling clinical trial that perturbs the IGF1R, mTor, src, DR5, VEGF, c-met, and hsp-90 pathways.


Giulia Fulci, PhD (MGH)
Neuro-Oncology Program

Research focus: increasing efficacy of oncolytic virotherapy for brain tumors, including understanding the mechanisms through which cyclophosphamide enhances intratumoral viral spread and consequent survival of rodents with established gliomas. One major focus is to understand the mechanisms that regulate the strong innate immune response  which oncolytic viruses elicit after their intratumoral injection in order to identify novel targets for therapeutic intervention. Other interests include establishing a new MRI technology that can detect virus replication, intratumoral infiltration of innate immune cells and tumor response during one MRI imaging session, and testing the efficacy of oncolytic virotherapy when performed in combination with FDA-approved anti-angiogenic and immuno-suppressive drugs.

Zhigang He, PhD (HMS)
Cancer Cell Biology Program, Neuro-Oncology Program

Research focus:  why lesioned axons cannot regenerate in the adult mammalian central nervous system. Specific focus is on two potential mechanisms: the inhibitory activity in the adult lesion sites and reduced intrinsic ability associated with mature CNS neurons. Recent studies include defining cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying the intrinsic regenerative capacity of mature neurons.

Carolyn Krasner, MD (MGH)
Gynecologic Cancer Program

Research focus: the evaluation of novel therapeutics for the care of women with gynecologic malignancies.

Jan Mutchler, PhD (UMB)
Cancer Disparities Program

Research focus: health disparities, especially within the older population, including how disparities in health outcomes may be partially a function of communication processes, such as language barriers between English-speaking providers and patient populations who have minimal English language skills. Another research focus is the relevance of relationships between providers and patients in health disparities, including the development of trust.

Jonathan Rosenberg, MD (DFCI)
Kidney Cancer Program, Prostate Cancer Program

Research focus: developing new therapeutic options for kidney, urothelial, and prostate cancer. In kidney cancer, this includes the ability to predict response to single agent and combination therapies based on molecular markers from primary renal tumors, as well as clinical testing of novel therapeutic agents. For prostate cancer, foci include testing the role of post-taxane chemotherapy and studying the genetic profile of circulating hormone refractory prostate cancer cells. In urothelial carcinoma, research includes testing proteasome inhibition, evaluating the clinical benefit of the addition of bevacizumab to standard chemotherapy (gemcitabine and cisplatin), and launching a clinical and translational program to improve the treatment of patients.

Alice Shaw, MD, PhD (MGH)
Lung Cancer Program

Research focus: mouse molecular genetics and translational studies focusing on novel diagnostic and therapeutic strategies for human lung cancer. One focus is on the biomarkers and therapies for Ras-mutant lung cancer. Additional research interests include genomic and proteomic signatures of chemoresistance, and identification of novel transforming RTKs in lung cancer.

Christina Ullrich, MPH, MD (DFCI)
Outcomes Research Program; Palliative Care Program

Research focus: quality of life, in particular symptom management in children with advanced cancer. Interests include understanding which pediatric cancer patients enter symptom-related studies and the trial designs that promote participation, the role Methylphenidate may play in decreasing fatigue in children with advanced cancer, and building a foundation for sound, compassionate symptom-related research in palliative care in the effort to alleviate suffering in this population.

Yu Xu, MD (MGH)
Cancer Immunology Program

Research focus: the analysis of T cell responses in chronic viral infections. Particular research includes using a combination of molecular, functional, and cytogenetic methods to analyze molecular pathways that determine lymphocyte function, lymphocyte persistence and exhaustion, and the self-renewal capacity of these cells.

Michael Zimmer, PhD (MGH)
Kidney Cancer Program

Research focus: dissecting the molecular events that underlie hypoxia signaling, with a particular focus on the Hypoxia-Inducible transcription Factor (HIF), a central regulator of this cellular response. A chemical genetic screen for small molecule HIF inhibitors uncovered four compounds that selectively diminished translation of the HIF message by enhancing the activity of Iron Response Protein 1 (IRP1) binding to a non canonical Iron Response Element located within the 5-UTR of the HIF message. Current research interests are to assess the importance of IRP1-mediated effects on HIF translation on tumor growth, explore the Protein Kinase C pathway as a candidate regulatory pathway controlling IRP1 activity, and search for IRP1 associated proteins.