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Twenty-nine new members join DF/HCC

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

Andrea Baccarelli, MD, PhD (HSPH)
Cancer Epidemiology

Research focus: The lab focuses on identifying molecular and biological factors reflecting the impact of environmental exposures on cancer risk, with particular interest in epigenetics, and is currently expanding its research in two complementary directions: developing comprehensive investigations on multiple epigenetic mechanisms that cooperate to control gene expression and taking advantage of recent technological advances that make it possible to perform epigenome-wide analyses.

Richard Blumberg, MD (BWH)
Cancer Immunology, Gastrointestinal Malignancies

Research focus: The lab is interested in defining the molecular mechanisms underlying co-inhibition of T cells by carcinoembryonic antigen cell adhesion molecule 1 (CEACAM1). This is of central importance to tumor immunity and its therapeutic implications.


Abraham Brass, MD, PhD (MGH)
Cancer Immunology

Research focus: The lab is currently studying the pathogenesis of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1), hepatitis C virus (HCV), and most recently influenza A virus, revealing not only key host components which are co-opted by invading viruses, but also native host genes (e.g., the IFITM family) which confer a baseline level of resistance to influenza, as well as other devastating viruses.

Cesar Castro, MD, MMSc (MGH)
Gynecologic Cancers, Translational Pharmacology and Early Therapeutic Trials

Research focus: The lab seeks to bridge advances in novel technologies and therapeutics with current clinical oncology needs. The goal of this work is to refine and translate novel molecular imaging and nanosensing tactics into solid tumors.


Steven Chang, MD, MS (BWH)
Outcomes Research

Research focus: The overarching goal of the research is to develop clinical recommendations that will improve the care of patients with urologic malignancies while reducing the overall burden of these diseases on the United States health care system.

Matthew Davids, MD (DFCI)
Lymphoma and Myeloma

Research focus: The lab studies resistance to treatment in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) by utilizing BH3 profiling to investigate the mechanisms underlying stroma-mediated resistance to apoptosis. The team is developing an early-phase clinical trial to evaluate pharmacologic combinations that might mitigate stroma-mediated treatment resistance and thereby improve the treatment of CLL.

Vikram Deshpande, MBBS (MGH)
Cancer Genetics, Gastrointestinal Malignancies

Research focus: The research centers on studying pancreaticobiliary tumors and pancreatic cystic lesions. The team has identified PI3K mutations in a significant subset of gallbladder carcinomas, a finding that may have significant therapeutic relevance. The overarching goal is to develop a mutational based test on cyst fluid that would predict malignancy in pancreatic cysts.


Mihaela Gadjeva, PhD (BWH)
Translational Pharmacology and Early Therapeutic Trials

Research focus: The research is focused on developing new treatment strategies to regulate inflammatory processes and has recently established that a protein, named macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF), regulates inflammatory responses to bacterial keratitis induced by Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

Chenghua Gu, PhD (HMS)
Angiogenesis, Invasion and Metastasis

Research focus: The lab is interested in the role of a newly identified angiogenesis regulator, the traditional axon guidance cues, in vascular development and angiogenesis in cancer. To that end the team has focused on the largest family of repulsive guidance cue, the semaphorins.

Martin Hager, MSc, PhD (CHB)
Angiogenesis, Invasion and Metastasis

Research focus: The research is focused on the molecular mechanisms of cell invasion programs in tumor metastasis. The lab is currently using genome-wide, high-resolution analyses of copy number alterations across various cancer and tissue types to investigate discrete loci and reveal independent contributions of uncharacterized tumor suppressors.

Frank Hu, MD, PhD (BWH)
Cancer Risk and Disparities

Research focus: The research is focused on determinants and consequences of obesity and Type 2 diabetes.


Christene Huang, PhD (MGH)
Leukemia, Lymphoma and Myeloma

Research focus: The lab conducts a range of tumor studies, the goal of which is to develop transplantable tumor models in miniature swine to enable direct assessment of tumor immunotherapy in a clinically relevant large animal model.

Dimitrios Iliopoulos, PhD (DFCI)
Cancer Immunology, Gastrointestinal Malignancies

Research focus: A major focus of the research is to identify how extracellular and intracellular inflammatory stimuli contribute to the transformation of normal cells into cancer cells. In particular, the lab strives to understand how perturbations of the tumor microenvironment contribute to oncogenic transformation and potentially formation and maintenance of cancer stem cell populations. Finally, the teal is interested in identifying microRNA-gene networks that are essential in human inflammatory diseases and cancer, through integration of genomic and proteomic data using novel bioinformatic algorithms.

Heather Jacene, MD (DFCI)
Cancer Imaging

Research focus: The research is focused on the use, challenges and limitations of PET/CT for monitoring the response of cancer to therapy. A major interest is further development and validation of functional imaging response criteria.

Jane Kim, PhD (HSPH)
Cancer Risk and Disparities, Gynecologic Cancers

Research focus: The research focuses on the development and application of mathematical modeling methods to evaluate health policy issues related to public health by developing and using models to perform cost-effectiveness analysis of cervical cancer prevention strategies in the U.S., Europe, Hong Kong, and less developed regions.

Donald Lawrence, MD (MGH)
Cutaneous Oncology and Melanoma

Research focus: The research focuses on the development of novel therapies for melanoma, including the use of immunotherapy.


Linda Lee, MD (BWH)
Gastrointestinal Malignancies

Research focus: The lab conducts translational research on the use of advanced endoscopic techniques in diagnosing pancreatic cancer and precancerous pancreatic lesions.

Neil Martin, MD, MPH (BWH)
Prostate Cancer

Research focus: The research is centered around the profiling of human tumors for activation of the PI3K pathway.


Margaret McLaughlin-Drubin, PhD (BWH)
Gynecologic Cancers

Research focus: The lab studies how the human papillomaviruses (HPVs) contribute to human cancer development by using biochemical, genetic, and cell biological approaches to investigate mechanisms by which viral oncoproteins alter the epigenetic program of infected cells.

Leonid Mirny, PhD (MIT)
Biostatistics and Computational Biology

Research focus: The research goal is to test the hypothesis that passenger mutations can be deleterious to cancer, but nevertheless hitchhiking to fixation and can be used as a basis for therapy, by modeling evolution of cancer, analysis of cancer genomic data, and experiments.

Trista North, PhD (BIDMC)

Research focus: The lab studies developmental hematopoiesis as a key to uncovering general principles of stem cell function, self-renewal and tissue regeneration, and seeks to understand how environmental insults alter stem cell production, self-renewal and differentiation.

Miguel Rivera, MD (MGH)
Kidney Cancer

Research focus: The research focuses on the relationship between developmental pathways and tumorigenesis in Wilms tumor, the most common pediatric kidney cancer. The lab uses genomic technologies to identify and characterize pathways implicated in pediatric solid tumors and sarcomas. This work combines the use of genomic technologies for direct analysis of tumors with functional analysis of novel pathways that are common to development and cancer.

Michael Rogers, PhD (CHB)
Angiogenesis, Invasion and Metastasis

Research focus: The research has focused on the identification of thalidomide analogs that exhibit improved anti-cancer activity, the elucidation of the genetics of angiogenesis and its control of tumor growth, and the role of the anthrax toxin receptors in angiogenesis.

Philip Saylor, MD (MGH)
Prostate Cancer

Research focus: The researh is primarily focused on clinical prostate cancer treatment and survivorship. Specific themes of this research program include experimental therapies, molecular imaging, and in vivo physiology.

Christopher Sweeney, MBBS (DFCI)
Kidney Cancer, Prostate Cancer

Research focus: The primary research interest is drug discovery and development, with an academic focus on management of genitourinary malignancies, including prostate, bladder, testis and renal cell cancer.

Peter Tonellato, PhD (BIDMC)
Biostatistics and Computational Biology, Breast Cancer

Research focus: The lab develops strategies, methods, bioinformatic tools, and analyses to study and test the accuracy and clinical efficacy of genetic discoveries and accelerate their translation to practical clinical use. Current research work now focuses on the design and execution of insilico experiments that explore and solve barriers to translation.


Peggy Wu, MD (BIDMC)
Cutaneous Oncology and Melanoma

Research focus: The research is centered on the diagnosis and management of cutaneous lymphoproliferative disorders, such as lymphomatoid papulosis, mycosis fungoides/Sezary syndrome, and B-cell lymphomas.

Xu Wu, PhD (MGH)
Cutaneous Oncology and Melanoma

Research focus: The research lies at the interface of chemistry and biology. The lab aims to discover novel tools for stem cell and cancer biology, pharmacologically identify and validate novel therapeutic targets, and discover novel signaling nodes, cross-talking and their physiological and pathological relevances. The ultimate goal is to discover new cancer targets and pharmacologically validate them.


Timur Yusufzai, PhD (DFCI)
Cancer Genetics

Research focus: The lab uses a combination of biochemical and cell-based approaches to study factors involved in chromatin and DNA dynamics, with an emphasis on human disease models. The team is particularly interested in ATP-driven motor proteins such as chromatin remodeling enzymes, helicases, and the recently discovered annealing helicases.