Zhipeng Lu, PhD

Dr. Lu [Layton Family Fellow of the Damon Runyon-Sohn Foundation Pediatric Cancer Fellowship Award] is developing new methods for direct analyses of RNA structures and RNA-RNA interactions in living cells, which remain a major technical challenge. RNA helicases and RNA binding proteins interact with and remodel RNA structures to coordinate all aspects of RNA metabolism, and mutations in these proteins lead to many cancers such as medulloblastoma brain tumors.

Guillem Pratx, PhD

Many studies have shown that the cancer cells within a tumor form a remarkably diverse population. These cellular differences play a significant role in how the tumor develops and how it responds to therapy. A technology called flow cytometry (a high-throughput method for characterizing single cells) has been critical for these findings; however, the technology is inherently limited because it can only measure biochemical processes that can be interrogated using a fluorescent molecule.

Sean C. Bendall, PhD

Dr. Bendall is using novel single-cell analysis techniques to investigate how normal regulatory cell signaling networks are rewired, allowing cancer to grow unchecked.  He has applied this technology to examine healthy human blood cells, measuring multiple parameters simultaneously in single cells.

Jean Y. Tang, MD, PhD

Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common type of skin cancer. Mutations in the Hedgehog (HH) signaling pathway are frequently found in these cancers. Early-stage clinical studies of a HH pathway inhibitor drug have been successful, with 55% of patients reported to respond. However, most tumors change during the course of therapy and drug resistance eventually develops.