Damon Runyon Researchers

Meet Our Scientists
Nicole M. Cruz, MD

About 70% of pediatric leukemias and up to 10% of adult leukemias are caused by a genetic disruption in which the mixed lineage leukemia (MLL) 1 gene breaks off and attaches to a different chromosome. This event, known as a chromosomal translocation, gives rise to a distinct subset of leukemias called MLL-rearranged acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Studies have shown that a protein called KMT2D plays a critical role in the development of MLL-rearranged AML. However, the potential of KMT2D as a novel therapeutic target remains underexplored. Dr. Cruz [The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research Physician-Scientist] will use molecular biology, epigenetic, and biochemistry approaches to describe the precise molecular mechanism by which KMT2D regulates gene expression in MLL-rearranged AML. Her work will provide insight into potentially targetable proteins for this aggressive blood cancer.

Project title: "Understanding the role of KMT2D in MLL-AF9 acute myeloid leukemia"
Institution: The Rockefeller University
Named Award: The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research Physician-Scientist
Award Program: Physician-Scientist
Sponsor(s) / Mentor(s): Robert G. Roeder, PhD
Cancer Type: Blood
Research Area: Epigenetics