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Eighteen new members join DF/HCC community

Since December 2006, 18 individuals from our seven member institutions and academic partners have joined DF/HCC -- adding new expertise to the collaborative effort to conquer cancer. Learn more about these scientists and their areas of research interest.

Mohamed S. Arredouani

Mohamed S. Arredouani, BS MSc PhD (BIDMC), Prostate Cancer Program; Cancer Immunology Program

Research focus: using the TRAMP mouse model of prostate cancer to study the mechanisms leading to CD8(+) T cell tolerance to tumor-associated antigens. Arredouani is also investigating new strategies for circumventing tolerance.

John M. Asara

John M. Asara, PhD (BIDMC), Cancer Genetics Program

Research focus: developing new strategies for studying the regulation of post-translational modifications, and creating isotope-free methods for accurately quantifying proteins and their novel modifications that rival stable isotope labeling strategies. Asara is also interested in the development of a mass spectrometry based de novo protein sequencing strategy to map translated mutations in cancers at the proteomic level from both cancer cell lines and tumor tissue.

Joan Becker

Joan Becker, PhD (UMB), Cancer Disparities Program

Research focus: student training, particularly for low income, first-generation students and students who are underrepresented in scientific research careers. Becker works with UMass Boston faculty and DF/HCC researchers to identify training opportunities for students, recruit and identify students for these opportunities, and ensure that students receive positive mentoring.

Lawrence S Blaszkowsky, MD (MGH), Translational Pharmacology and Early Therapeutic Trials Program; Gastrointestinal Malignancies Program

Research focus: development of new therapeutic agents and regimens in the management of gastrointestinal malignancies.

Sheila J Cannon, PhD (UMB), Cancer Nursing Research Program; Cancer Disparities Program

Research focus: psychosocial factors in the minority population, such as the experience of African-American daughters as caregivers to aging parents in order to increase cultural awareness and sensitivity. Cannon is also interested in the areas of cancer and caregiving, health disparities, and development of more culturally sensitive tools to measure caregiving strain in African-Americans.

William T Curry, MD (MGH), Cancer Immunology Program; Neuro-Oncology Program

Research focus: the study of anti-tumor immunity in patients with malignant brain tumors. Curry is initiating phase I clinical trials using immunotherapy approaches along with performing detailed serological and tissue-based analyses of anti-tumor immune responses. One focus is the discovery of novel glioma-associated antigens and monitoring antibody and T- lymphocyte responses in treated patients.

Eva C Gombos, MD (BWH), Breast Cancer Program

Research focus: breast MRI interpretation and MRI-guided procedures. Gombos is also focused on clinical use of the image-guided Fine Needle Aspiration of auxillary lymph nodes in patients with breast cancer.

Grace S Kao, MD (DFCI), Cancer Immunology Program

Research focus: hematopoietic stem cell transplantation and cell-based immunotherapy.

Xihong Lin, PhD (HSPH), Lung Cancer Program; Biostatistics Program

Research focus: developing statistical methods for analyzing correlated and high-dimensional biomedical data that arise in longitudinal and familial studies, as well as genomic and proteomic studies. Particular interests include longitudinal data, measurement error, and observational studies (case-control and cohort studies). Lin is currently involved in analysis of high-dimensional genomic and proteomic data, biomarker identification, and gene-environment interactions, especially in cancer epidemiology and cancer prevention and intervention.

Elissa M Ozanne, PhD (MGH), Outcomes Research Program; Breast Cancer Program

Research focus: developing a wide range of methods for analyzing and facilitating medical decision processes, particularly in the area of breast cancer. These include decision models for individual patients, physicians, and policy makers. Key research efforts have included 1) investigations of and decision support for patient decision making in breast cancer prevention, 2) evaluation of breast cancer prevention, screening, and treatment strategies, and 3) development of decision quality metrics.

Sanja Percac-Lima, MD,DMD,PhD (MGH), Gastrointestinal Malignancies Program; Cancer Disparities Program

Research focus: Current research project entitled,  “Improving Colorectal Cancer Screening Rates by Lowering Barriers in Low Income and Non-English Speaking Populations: The Chelsea Colorectal Cancer Screening Project.” The hypothesis is that a bilingual navigator program, enhanced by use of trained interpreting staff will improve screening rates overall, and decrease disparities between patients with limited English proficiency and English speakers.

John M Poneros, MD (BWH), Cancer Genetics Program; Gastrointestinal Malignancies Program

Research focus: early detection of cancer in Barrett's esophagus. Interested in the use of flow cytometry and cell cycle analysis as an early marker of neoplastic change. Poneros is currently using Fluorescence In situ Hybridization (FISH) to search for early biomarkers in patients with Barrett's esophagus that are at risk for developing adenocarcinoma.

Noopur Raje, MD (MGH), Lymphoma and Myeloma Program

Research focus: understanding the biology of multiple myeloma and developing novel therapeutics for the treatment of myeloma. Interested in understanding the role of B cell activating factor (BAFF) and cyclin D dysregulation in myeloma, as well as the biology of bone disease in myeloma. In translational research, Raje is working with several interesting antibodies and small molecules including BAFF antibody and cyclin D 1 inhibitors, which have been validated preclinically and will be translated to phase I/II clinical studies for relapsed refractory myeloma.

Scott J Rodig, MD,PhD (BWH), Lymphoma and Myeloma Program

Research focus: developing new immunohistochemical stains applicable to the study of various animal models of human disease, and providing pathologic interpretation of animal and human tissues.


Lidia Schapira, MD (MGH), Breast Cancer Program

Research focus: treatment trials for patients with breast cancer, psychosocial aspects of cancer care, and community attitudes towards cancer clinical trials.

Alexandra E Shields, PhD (MGH), Cancer Genetics Program; Cancer Disparities Program

Research interests: issues related to the quality of care provided to underserved populations, health disparities, and challenges associated with the clinical integration of new genetic technologies. Shields is currently studying clinical and ethical issues related to tailoring smoking cessation treatment by genotype, and examining the complex intersection of emerging genetic research and health disparities.

John S Swan, MD (MGH), Outcomes Research Program; Cancer Imaging Program

Research focus: measurement of quality of life for use in cost-effectiveness analysis and other outcomes situations. Swan’s interests include the usage of existing measures for gauging quality of life and developing new measures. Prior research has emphasized the effects of diagnostic testing and screening, using both typical holistic measures and multiattribute utility techniques. Swan intends to extend his techniques into short-term treatment scenarios relevant to cancer care.

Stephanie E Weiss, MD (BWH), Neuro-Oncology Program

Research focus: the treatment and outcomes of both benign and malignant, primary and secondary brain tumors. Weiss investigates radiation techniques and the use of adjuvant therapies through prospective trials and chart reviews as appropriate.