Breast Cancer

Current Projects
Yichen Xu, PhD

Dr. Xu focuses on the estrogen receptor α (ERα), a nuclear hormone receptor that is mutated and hyperactivated in over 70% of breast cancers. Hormone therapy drugs, such as tamoxifen, which target classic ERα signaling are highly potent; however, many patients eventually develop drug resistance. His proposed research will address a previously unknown role of ERα in breast cancer progression and therapy resistance, and may identify a potential second-line therapy to treat breast cancer.

Project title: "Elucidating a non-classical role of ER in gene expression and breast cancer progression"
Institution: University of California, San Francisco
Award Program: Fellow
Sponsor(s) / Mentor(s): Davide Ruggero, PhD
Cancer Type: Breast
Research Area: RNA (RNA processing, miRNA and piRNA mechanisms, enzymatic RNAs, etc.)
Leeat Yankielowicz-Keren, PhD

Dr. Yankielowicz-Keren studies cellular changes in breast cancer, the second leading cause of cancer death in women in the U.S. Recently, a new multiplexed ion beam imaging (MIBI) technology has been introduced, which enables simultaneous imaging of dozens of proteins at a single cell level within a tissue section with high sensitivity. She is applying MIBI to study expression patterns of human breast cancer samples in the spatial context of the microenvironment and the interactions with the immune system. She aims to discover novel phenotypic and histologic features that predict progression from contained lesions to invasive disease.

Project title: "Studying the tumor immune microenvironment in breast cancer using a novel multiplexed imaging platform"
Institution: Stanford University
Award Program: Fellow
Sponsor(s) / Mentor(s): Michael R. Angelo, MD, PhD
Cancer Type: Breast
Research Area: Systems Biology
Yi Yin, PhD

Dr. Yin is using newly developed state-of-the-art single cell sequencing technology to examine how DNA repair mechanisms go awry and contribute to cancer initiation and progression, as well as response to chemotherapy. Cancer cells usually have characteristic loss-of-heterozygosity, copy number variation and other types of genome rearrangements. A better understanding of the molecular mechanisms, genomic and cell contexts and effects from different allele variants in DNA repair genes of each individual may help guide treatment approaches for many cancer types, including breast, skin, and blood cancers.

Project title: "Global analysis of DNA break repair by single-cell sequencing"
Institution: University of Washington
Award Program: Fellow
Sponsor(s) / Mentor(s): Jay A. Shendure, MD, PhD
Cancer Type: Blood, Breast, Skin, All Cancers
Research Area: Chromosome and Telomere Biology
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