Students & Research

Years stated as of July 2016

Sally Adua

Year: 3  |  Mentor: Nguyen  | Student Profile

Deborah Ayeni  

Year: 6  | Mentor: Politi  |  Student Profile

Understanding the Effects of Loss of the Tumor Suppressor Gene, p53 on Mutant EGFR Lung Adenocarcinoma Initiation and Metastatic Progression 

Lung cancer continues to be the leading cause of cancer-related death in the US and worldwide. Studies have identified mutations in proto-oncogenes (like the Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor, EGFR) and in tumor suppressor genes (like p53) in lung adenocarcinomas, the most common of the four histological subtypes of lung cancer. In particular, mutations in the EGFR gene have been shown to play a role in tumor initiation and maintenance and we hypothesize that p53 mutations and/or loss contribute to tumor progression.  Although more than fifty percent of patients with lung cancer have metastatic disease when they are diagnosed, factors that contribute to the spread of the primary lung adenocarcinoma to distant sites are yet to be well understood.  Using mice with mutant EGFR transgenes and constitutive p53 deficiency, the goal of my project is to identify the genes and mechanisms that underlie metastatic spread.

Nicole Calabro

Year: 6  |  Mentor: Kyriakides |  Student Profile

Wesley Cai

Year: 3  |  Mentor: Yan and Nguyen  | Student Profile

Nathan Fons

Year: 4  |  Mentor: Bindra 

Molly Gale

Year: 5  |  Mentor: Yan  | Student Profile

Bomiao Hu

Year: 3  |  Mentor: Politi  | Student Profile

Britta Kunkemoeller

Year: 5   |  Mentor: Kyriakides   |  Student Profile

Jade (Xiuqi) Li

Year: 3  |  Mentor: Finberg  | Student Profile

Xiaoni Liu

Year: 4  |  Mentor: Bosenberg  

Yuting Liu

Year: 3  |  Mentor: Rimm  | Student Profile

Lauren Moore

Year: 6  |  Mentor: Rimm  | Student Profile 

Laura Stevens

Year 7  |  Mentor: Ngyuen  |  Student Profile

Lung adenocarcinoma (ADC) is the most common subtype of lung cancer, and even when diagnosed at early stages, metastases can occur to distant organs. This propensity to metastasize suggests that a subpopulation of malignant cells with high metastatic potential may emerge in a subset of primary tumors. Cancer stem cells have been identified in the lung, but these cell populations are heterogeneous, and although they are all capable of propagating tumors, they display varying degrees of metastatic potential. Previous computational analysis from our lab has shown that genes associated with alveolar differentiation can stratify a cohort of primary lung ADCs into two distinct classes, a differentiated alveolar-like and a stem-cell like class. This stem-like signature classifies patients with poor survival, which indicates it may mark a dedifferentiated cell type that has enhanced metastatic capabilities. My project will focus on identifying biomarkers that are differentially expressed in both the stem-like signature and in our experimental models to identify the origin of metastasis propagating cells in lung ADCs and determine their fate upon disseminating from the primary tumor. I will also determine the putative role of these biomarkers in mediating functional interactions between subpopulations of metastatic cancer stem cells and their microenvironment.

Emily Wingrove

Year: 3  |  Mentor: Nguyen  | Student Profile

Pok Fai Wong

Year: 2  |  Mentor: Rimm  | Student Profile