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Forty-one new members join DF/HCC

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

Nathalie Agar, PhD (BWH)

Research focus: The lab develops and validates mass spectrometry imaging methodologies and applies them to study neuro-oncology and potentially to guide the care of patients affected by brain cancer.


David Barbie, MD (DFCI)
Cancer Genetics, Lung Cancer

Research focus: The lab is interested in exploring the NF-kB pathway through genetic and small molecule approaches as a means of targeting KRAS-driven lung cancer.

Jose Baselga, MD, PhD (MGH)
Breast Cancer, Translational Pharmacology and Early Therapeutic Trials

Research focus: The main interests of the lab are focused on the development of novel molecular targeted agents for the therapy of cancer, with special emphasis on breast cancer. The lab has directed the pre-clinical and early clinical development of therapies against the Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (HER1) and the closely related HER2 receptor, with current work expanding toward the early clinical development of Src, TGFb, HSP-90, CDK2, mTOR and PI3Kinase inhibitors.

Adam Bass, MD (DFCI)
Cancer Genetics, Gastrointestinal Malignancies

Research focus: The lab is working to characterize the somatic genomic alterations in gastric, esophageal and colorectal cancers and then follow these discoveries with the application of functional systems to identify and study critical oncogenic events in these tumors.

Rameen Beroukhim, PhD, MD, AB, MPhil (DFCI)
Cancer Genetics, Neuro-Oncology

Research focus: The lab focuses on understanding the somatic genetics of cancer, primarily in identifying alterations in chromosomal structure (including copy-number gains and losses and loss of heterozygosity) that contribute to tumor growth and characterizing the biological effects of these alterations. The aims of this research are to understand the biological basis of the various cancer subtypes to guide development of therapeutics, and to develop prognostic and predictive markers to guide the application of those therapeutics.

Fernando Camargo, PhD (CHB)
Cancer Genetics

Research focus: The lab's ultimate goal is to understand the signals that regulate adult stem cell maturation and tissue regeneration. Currently, the main focus of the lab is the study and identification of the signals that regulate organ size and control tissue symmetry. Other interests include the cellular and molecular biology of hematopoietic stem cells and the in vivo roles of transcription factors and microRNAs in stem cell fate decisions, differentiation and malignancy.

Yoon-Jae Cho, MD (CHB)

Research focus: The lab seeks to identify molecular targets for which new therapeutic strategies can be developed for two of the most deadly childhood brain tumors, medulloblastoma and atypical teratoid/rhabdoid tumors (ATRT), utilizes genomic data to fine-tune risk stratification schemas for currently used therapies and anticipates putative mechanisms of resistance to targeted therapies entering into clinical trials for medulloblastoma and ATRT.

Jack Dennerlein, PhD (HSPH)
Cancer Risk and Disparities

Research focus: Current research aims are to prevent work-related illness and injury, mainly musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), through understanding the injury mechanisms based on hypothesis-driven studies examining biomechanics, neuromuscular and exposure-response models. Overall this research is breaking new ground on examining the various aspects of exposure-outcome relationships and interventions in order to prevent work-related MSDs and injury.

Nadeem Dhanani, MD, MPH (BIDMC)
Kidney Cancer, Prostate Cancer

Research focus: Research interests are resource allocation among underserved populations in the US and the developing world, as well as the treatment of genitourinary malignancies, including kidney cancer, bladder cancer and prostate cancer, with a special focus on the development of devices and technologies to preserve kidney function, particularly for those patients with a genetic predisposition for multifocal and recurrent kidney tumors.

Laura Dominici, MD (BWH)
Breast Cancer, Outcomes Research

Research focus: Research interests are local control as related to tumor biology, neoadjuvant chemotherapy response in breast cancer, patient satisfaction outcomes after breast surgery and innovative surgical techniques for breast disease.

Amir Fathi, MD (HMS)
Leukemia, Translational Pharmacology and Early Therapeutic Trials

Research focus: Patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and a FLT3 internal tandem duplication (ITD) mutation have a poor prognosis, and multiple FLT3 inhibitors are now under clinical investigation. The lab is particularly interested in developing targeted therapies for patients with AML, focusing on multiple targets within the FLT3 signaling cascade, including PIM kinase, AKT, PI-3 kinase and MEK.


Natasha Frank, MD (BWH)
Cancer Genetics

Research focus: Current endeavors in the lab are focused on dissecting the relationship of multipotent stem cells residing in diverse human tissues to genetic diseases and cancer, with a special emphasis on the relevant role of the ATP-binding cassette transporter and chemoresistance gene ABCB5.

Rachel Freedman, MD, MPH (DFCI)
Breast Cancer, Cancer Risk and Disparities

Research focus: Primary research interests include disparities in breast cancer, breast cancer care among the elderly and designing a clinical trial using a novel therapy to treat breast cancer that is metastatic to the brain.

Alan Geller, MPH (HSPH)
Cutaneous Oncology and Melanoma

Research focus: Central goal of the labís melanoma research program is to reduce mortality via targeted early detection and screening of high-risk individuals. Currently funded projects evaluate national sun protection programs in schools, determine the behavioral antecedents of early vs. late diagnosis of melanoma, develop educational programs to teach the skin cancer examination to physicians and medical students, explore the risk factors for early mole development among schoolchildren in Framingham MA, evaluate communication patterns between patients with melanoma and their offspring, establish a greater understanding of the biologic vs. behavioral antecedents for thick melanoma and planning and evaluating a major skin cancer screening trial throughout Germany.

Ritu Gill, MD (BWH)
Cancer Imaging, Lung Cancer

Research focus: The lab is studying genomic profiling of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) for personalized targeted therapy using CT-guided transthoraic needle biopsy (TTNB). The goals are to assess the utility, efficacy and safety of CT-guided TTNB of NSCLC for genomic profiling for targeted therapy and to assess the Impact of CT-guided TTNB of NSCLC for genomic profiling for targeted therapy on clinical outcomes.

Scott Granter, MD (BWH)
Cutaneous Oncology and Melanoma

Research focus: Primary research interest is dermatopathology, including diagnostic clinical (human) pathology and morphologic analysis of various models of melanoma pathogenesis using immunohistochemical analysis of neoplasia in humans and in animal models. This work has yielded insights into the pathobiology of cutaneous disease and has established the clinical utility of immunohistochemical markers for diagnosis.

Dean Hashimoto, MD (HMS)
Cancer Risk and Disparities

Research focus: Research centers on the impact of regulatory and business systems on healthcare delivery utilizing three related strategies: studying the impact of hospital policies and other organizational attributes on the health and wellness of nursing employees; studying hospital employee exposures to chemotherapeutic agents; and evaluating the impact of workers compensation systems on health care delivery.

Julia Hayes, MD (DFCI)
Prostate Cancer

Research focus: Research in the lab is centered on decision analysis of common clinical scenarios in genitourinary cancers, in particular the screening and treatment of prostate cancer, as well as on treatment options for clinically localized, low-risk prostate cancer.

Stephen Huang, MD (CHB)
Angiogenesis, Invasion and Metastasis

Research focus: The goals of the labís current research are to determine the clinical consequences of D3 expression in hemangiomas and in other tumors, to understand the molecular explanation for its expression in consumptive hypothyroidism and to determine if there are other conditions in which D3 causes hypothyroxinemia due to the accelerated degradation of thyroid hormones.

Nadine Jackson McCleary, MD, MPH (DFCI)
Outcomes Research, Gastrointestinal Malignancies

Research focus: Research is centered on assessment, prognosis and clinical decision-making involving elders with cancer, specifically how the distinction between fit and frail elders is made and how that assessment can inform prognosis and enhance decision-making as well as clinical trial enrollment.
In addition, current research focuses on developing methods of treatment risk stratification for older patients with cancer.

Alec Kimmelman, MD, PhD (DFCI)
Gastrointestinal Malignancies

Research focus: The lab works to identify defects in mitotic checkpoints and DNA repair pathways that can be exploited for therapeutic gain, studies pathways involved in pancreatic cancer cell survival and metabolism to identify novel vantage points of attack and uses an inducible model of pancreatic adenocarcinoma that is phenotypically identical to the human disease to better understand the role of Kras in terms of tumor initiation and maintenance.

Inga Lennes, MD (MGH)
Lung Cancer

Research focus: The primary research focus is on the quality of cancer care. At MGH, she has led a study looking at goals of care understanding in patients consented to chemotherapy treatment. Most recently, she has been funded by an R03 award to look at the determinates of quality oncology care as defined by ASCO's Quality Oncology Practice Initiative in lung cancer patients.

Abner Louissaint, Jr., MD, PhD (MGH)
Cancer Genetics

Research focus: The lab works to identify specific biological markers that can be used clinically in the setting of lymphoma or thymoma/thymic carcinoma to predict outcome and/or response to therapy.

Alexander Marneros, MD, PhD (MGH)
Angiogenesis, Invasion and Metastasis

Research focus: The labís research focuses on the molecular mechanisms that control blood vessel growth at basement membrane zones. Data suggests that blood vessel growth is regulated in part by pro- and anti-angiogenic factors derived from epithelial cells and from proteolytic degradation of the basement membrane. Future work will study the role of pro- and anti-angiogenic factors for blood vessel functions and homeostasis in the adult in various tissues, including the skin and the eye.

Franziska Michor, PhD (DFCI)
Biostatistics and Computational Biology

Research focus: The lab focuses on the evolutionary dynamics of cancer. Current areas of research include cancer stem cells, evolution of drug resistance and the dynamics of metastasis formation.

Javid Moslehi, MD (BWH)
Cancer Survivorship, Translational Pharmacology and Early Therapeutic Trials

Research focus: Research interests include basic myocyte biology and myocardial adaptation to various stresses, including hypoxia, aging and chemotherapies.

Kimmie Ng, MD, MPH (DFCI)
Cancer Epidemiology, Gastrointestinal Malignancies

Research focus: Primary research interest is translational epidemiological research, focusing on molecular and genetic biomarkers and novel therapeutics for colorectal cancer, with a special interest in the vitamin D pathway, and developing clinical trials of novel agents for gastrointestinal malignancies.

Cassandra Okechukwu, ScD, MSN, MPH (HSPH)
Cancer Risk and Disparities

Research focus: Research interests include the translation of community-based interventions into practice, occupational determinants of health and health behaviors, methods of intervention design and evaluation and the contribution of work-related social determinants to health disparities, with a special emphasis on tobacco use among working class populations.


Dipak Panigrahy, MD (CHB)
Angiogenesis, Invasion and Metastasis, Neuro-Oncology

Research focus: Research is centered on the role of non-proteinaceous autacoids and has led to recent discovery that eicosanoids such as epoxyeicosatrienoic acids (EETs), metabolites of arachidonic acid (AA), have potent tumor promoting activities. The overall goal of the labís research is to elucidate the mechanisms by which eicosanoids such as EETs can stimulate tumor growth, which may offer an entirely new system of targets for anti-stromal and anti-angiogenesis strategies in cancer therapy.

Xianhua Piao, PhD (CHB)

Research focus: The labís research is focused on understanding how neurons acquire the positioning cues during cerebral cortical development. Using biochemical and proteomic approaches and various mouse models, the lab has identified a novel pair of receptor-ligand that mediates the cross talk between the meninges and pial basement membrane and neuronal migration. Further research will examine the signaling pathways that are crucial in brain development and malformation.

Helen Poynton, PhD (UMB)
Cancer Cell Biology

Research focus: The primary research focus is on applying genomics to better understand sub-lethal effects of environmental pollutants and to uncover molecular biomarkers that can be used to detect environmental pollutants and understand their bioavailability. A specific areas of focus is developing molecular biomarkers as detection tools for emerging contaminants including nanoparticles and using them to understand the bioavailability of nanoparticles in environmental matrices.

Pere Puigserver, PhD (DFCI)
Cancer Genetics

Research focus: Research interests are focused on the genetic and biochemical mechanisms underlying the control of intermediary metabolism. The ultimate goal of this research is to understand the coordination, activities and assembly of these regulatory biochemical processes and to lay the foundation for new therapies for metabolic diseases and cancer.

Jayaraj Rajagopal, MD (MGH)
Lung Cancer

Research focus: The lab focuses on lung regeneration and the application of developmental biology to human lung disease by seeking to clarify the mechanistic basis of lung stem and progenitor cell proliferation and differentiation.

James Rocco, MD, PhD (MGH)
Cancer Genetics

Research focus: The primary goal of the labís research is to better understand how upstream cellular signals and stresses lead to increased expression of p16. Studies have focused on physical interactions of CtBP with Polycomb protein complexes and other regulatory proteins at the p16 promoter. Future studies will evaluate competing hypotheses for how loss of CtBP-mediated repression leads to loss of Polycomb-based repression and will test the significance of this epigenetic memory by examining its reversibility and its influence on responses to later p16-inducing stimuli.

Lynette Sholl, MD (BWH)
Lung Cancer

Research focus: Research focuses on identifying pathologic, immunohistochemical, and genetic markers that will improve the classification of lung cancer, provide predictive information regarding therapy and provide more precise prognostic information.

Peter Sorger, PhD (HMS)
Cancer Cell Biology

Research focus: The lab aims to understand mechanisms controlling mammalian cell fate that, when altered, cause cancer. Research is focused on the balance between extracellular factors that promote death and those that promote growth and survival with a focus on the spatio-temporal dynamics of receptor mediated apoptosis triggered by ligands such as TRAIL and growth-factor mediated mitogenesis trigged by EGF, insulin and insulin-like growth factors.

Bakhos Tannous, PhD (MGH)
Neuro-Oncology, Translational Pharmacology and Early Therapeutic Trials

Research focus: The lab develops novel bioluminescent reporter systems to monitor self-renewal, differentiation or death of GBM stem cells simultaneously and uses these reporters to screen for drugs which can increase therapeutic efficacy for GBM stem cells by either eradicating these cells or reverting GBM stem cells into a more differentiated state which can then response to conventional therapies. The lab also targets brain tumors using different gene transfer technologies.

Karen Winkfield, MD, PhD (MGH)
Cancer Risk and Disparities

Research focus: Primary aim of research is to identify beliefs and factors that influence decisions related to breast cancer screening and treatment among African American women, and to develop an interactive educational tool to provide accurate information regarding breast health, breast cancer and breast cancer treatment in a culturally sensitive manner.

Xiaoyin Xu, PhD (BWH)
Breast Cancer

Research focus: The labís research focuses on developing and applying optical imaging techniques in cancer studies as well as in musculoskeletal, neurological and neurodegeneration research. In addition, the lab works to develop novel computational techniques to facilitate cancer research, such as high-throughput image processing algorithms to screen cancer drugs and bioinformatics methods to quantify and analyze images obtained in cancer research.

Jing-Ruey Yeh, PhD (MGH)
Angiogenesis, Invasion and Metastasis, Leukemia

Research focus: The lab specializes in chemical genetics and disease modeling using the zebrafish. The team has developed a zebrafish model of AML1-ETO; using this model, they have discovered novel AML1-ETO antagonists and therapeutic targets that are critical for AML leukemogenesis. Future research will explore the clinical benefits of these agents in AML patients.

Jane Yu, PhD (BWH)
Angiogenesis, Invasion and Metastasis

Research focus: The lab focuses on the establishment and characterization of the primary cell cultures derived from angiomyolipoma and LAM, investigation of the role of estrogen and anti-estrogen agents in stimulating LAM-associated angiomyolipoma cell growth and signaling pathways, identification of molecular and metabolic signatures associated with estrogen-promoted metabolic alteration and survival of tuberin-deficient cells and development of animal models of LAM to test the efficacy of FDA-approved drugs. The long-term research goal is to study mechanisms through which tuberin and hamartin regulate estrogen-mediated survival and metastatic phenotypes, and develop estrogen-focused targeted therapeutic strategies for LAM.