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Thirteen new members join DF/HCC

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

M. Amin Arnaout, MD (MGH)
Angiogenesis, Invasion and Metastasis, Leukemia
Research focus: A major effort in the lab is to understand the structural basis of integrin activation and signaling using biochemical, structural approaches in addition to animal models. A potential outcome is the discovery of antagonists to treat common diseases such as heart disease, stroke and cancer linked to integrin dysfunction.

Michael J Balboni, PhD (DFCI)
Outcomes Research, Palliative Care
Research focus: Primary research interests are in palliative care, with a focus on the religious and spiritual dimensions of the experience of life-threatening illness, with a particular interest in prospective correlations between religious and spiritual characteristics of patients, physicians, and family caregivers and medical outcomes.

Donald B Bloch, MD (MGH)
Cancer Cell Biology, Leukemia
Research focus: The lab has focused on the identification and characterization of novel human autoantigens. This work has led to increased understanding of the function of two cellular structures: the PML-Sp100 nuclear body and the mRNA processing body. Recent studies have shown that polymorphisms in the gene encoding Sp140 are risk factors for the development of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). The objective of the proposed studies is to determine the role of Sp140 in the pathogenesis of CLL.

Priscilla K Brastianos, MD (MGH)
Cancer Genetics, Neuro-Oncology
Research focus: The research focuses on understanding the mechanisms that drive brain metastases, using next-generation sequencing technology to comprehensively characterize the genomics of metastatic disease. The goal of these studies is to better understand the molecular pathways that drive brain metastasis, which will enable the development of more rational therapeutic approaches for this common and devastating complication of cancer.

Daniel P Cahill, MD, PhD (MGH)
Research focus: Lab-based research activity is focused on the study of malignant brain tumors to gain insight into the molecular genetic alterations that underlie their development, progression and treatment resistance. By understanding the mechanism by which these alterations drive formation of these cancers, therapeutic strategies to exploit this knowledge can be developed to improve outcomes for patients.

Ennio A Chiocca, MD, PhD (BWH)
Research focus: The primary focus is discovering and engineering of biologic agents such as viruses into selective anticancer agents that are translated into clinical trials trials for patients with malignant brain tumors with the goal of evaluating the agents’ safety and efficacy. Other areas of focus are discovering drugs that limit glioma invasion and elucidating the role of microRNAs in glioma biology.

Michael Goldberg, PhD, MPhil, BS (DFCI)
Cancer Immunology, Translational Pharmacology and Early Therapeutic Trials
Research focus: The lab strives to develop and deliver novel therapeutics in order to improve the lives of patients by combining the tools of synthetic chemistry, molecular biology, materials science, bioengineering, and immunology to address important problems that are intractable from a uni-disciplinary approach.

Jeffrey Golden, MD (BWH)
Research focus: The primary area of focus is the diagnosis of tumors of the nervous system. In addition, the lab researches developmental neurobiology with the main focus being cell migration, the study of which has important ramifications for tumor cell growth and metastasis.

Robert P Hasserjian, MD (MGH)
Leukemia, Lymphoma and Myeloma
Research focus: The lab’s current research is focused on refining hematopathology diagnosis by discovering novel pathologic tools that define clinically distinct disease groups.

Neil S Horowitz, MD (BWH)
Gynecologic Cancers
Research focus: The primary research interest has been in complex surgical management and investigating new therapeutic options for gynecologic malignancies. New areas of research include gestational trophblastic disease (GTD) and surgical management of epithelial ovarian cancer. These efforts have been aimed at better understanding the role of disease burden and surgical complexity in survival for women with ovarian cancer.

Tae Ho Lee, PhD (BIDMC)
Breast Cancer
Research focus: The research focuses on the novel phosphorylation signaling mechanisms leading to development of cancer and aging. In particular, the lab investigates how conformational changes after phosphorylation control protein activity and cell growth. The team has determined that Death-Associated Protein kinase 1 may play an important role in regulating cancer and aging. Further study will explore additional mechanisms of phosphorylation regulation using multiple approaches, including biochemistry and cell biology, proteomics, and animal models to identify novel drug targets for cancer and other age-related disorders.

Brian V Nahed, MD (MGH)
Cancer Risk and Disparities, Neuro-Oncology
Research focus: The lab focuses on identifying circulating tumor cells in brain tumor patients. The main goal is to develop tools to detect circulating brain tumor cells while providing the first real-time test to monitor molecular and genetic changes during the course of treatment.

Jennifer F Tseng, MD, MPH (BIDMC)
Gastrointestinal Malignancies, Outcomes Research
Research focus: The overall focus of the research is predicting risk for hepatopancreaticobiliary (HPB) and upper GI malignancy and related diseases, as well as assessing the risks and benefits of various modalities employed in their treatment. To achieve that end, the lab has pursued several complementary avenues of investigation including health services research, including large administrative databases, registries, and institutional databases; biobanking and biomarker discovery for pancreatic malignancy; and decision analysis and decision modeling.