Damon Runyon Researchers

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Lydia Finley, PhD

Cancer cells frequently rewire intracellular metabolic pathways in order to support rapid proliferation. In addition to serving as building blocks for cell growth, metabolites also serve as critical substrates for enzymes that control gene expression programs. Changes in intracellular metabolites can therefore have a profound effect on cellular functions including survival, growth and differentiation. As the Jack Sorrell Fellow of the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation, Dr. Finley found that specific intracellular metabolites promote the self-renewal of embryonic stem cells. These results demonstrate that metabolites can influence gene expression programs and control cell identity. As a Dale F. Frey Breakthrough Scientist, she will continue to investigate how metabolites regulate cell fate decisions in stem cells and cancer cells. Her research will interrogate how cells rewire metabolic pathways to support growth and how these metabolic changes influence cellular programs that control self-renewal and differentiation. These studies will shed light on how cancer cells fuel their growth and how tumor-associated metabolic alterations contribute to the establishment of the stem cell-like state that characterizes the most malignant tumors.

Project title: "Metabolic regulation of cell fate decisions"
Institution: Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Named Award: William Raveis Charitable Fund Scientist
Award Program: Dale Frey Scientist
Cancer Type: All Cancers
Research Area: Stem Cell Biology