Sarat Chandarlapaty, MD, PhD

The PI3K/AKT/mTOR signaling pathway normally conveys cues from the cell's environment into programs that promote cellular growth, division, and motility. Components of the PI3K signaling pathway are mutated in greater than 70% of all breast cancers and promote the persistent and exaggerated cell growth that is necessary for tumor formation and survival. This pathway is therefore a promising target for treating breast cancers; however, drugs designed to target the PI3K signaling pathway are initially effective but resistance rapidly develops. Dr.

Zsofia K. Stadler, MD

Heritable factors are an important determinant of cancer risk. At present, only a small fraction of this genetic risk is explained by known cancer predisposition genes. Our preliminary data suggests that in pediatric cancers or cancers that occur in early adulthood, de novo or "new" genetic mutations may be identified that contribute to cancer causation. As such, the aim of our study is to study children with specific types of cancer (leukemia and neuroblastoma) without a family history of the disease to determine if we can identify the genetic cause of their cancer.

Luc G. Morris, MD

Head and neck cancer is a lethal malignancy that can arise in the mouth, throat, voice box, and related areas. These tumors are squamous cell cancers that are, in many cases, caused by tobacco use or human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. Head and neck cancers have many molecular similarities with squamous cell cancers of the lung and esophagus. Dr. Morris is studying a poorly understood gene called FAT1, which is frequently altered in head and neck cancer (as well as lung and esophageal cancer). He has found that this gene, in its normal state, prevents tumor development.

Omar Abdel-Wahab, MD

Dr. Abdel-Wahab [Edward P. Evans Foundation Clinical Investigator] specializes in specific blood cancers called myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and acute myelogenous leukemia (AML). He recently identified mutations in the gene ASXL1 in patients with MDS and AML. ASXL1 is one of the most commonly mutated genes in MDS patients, and these mutations occur in up to 20% of AML patients. ASXL1 mutations result in a worsened overall survival in MDS and AML patients and contribute to chemotherapy resistance in AML.

Carolyn C. Jackson, MD, MPH

Kaposi sarcoma (KS), a potentially fatal cancer especially in immunodeficient individuals, is caused by human herpes virus-8 (HHV-8), a carcinogenic agent declared by the World Health Organization. Human genetic variability may account for the variability in the clinical outcome of HHV-8 infection. Dr. Jackson aims to discover novel genetic alterations underlying childhood KS and to understand how specific gene defects drive KS in conjunction with HHV-8.