Eric S. Fischer, PhD

Cancer therapies that target a specific gene product (targeted therapies), for example the oncogenic BCR-ABL by Gleevec, are now a very successful paradigm in cancer treatment. However, many known cancer-driving proteins are recalcitrant to the development of traditional small molecule inhibitors. In recent years, novel pharmacologic strategies have been proposed and developed to tackle this pervasive problem in drug development.

Tikvah K. Hayes, PhD

Dr. Hayes is focused on understanding and identifying mechanisms of resistance to cancer therapies.  Why some cancers respond to some therapies at first, but later become unresponsive, is not well understood. Small cell lung cancer is an ideal cancer to investigate how and why chemotherapy, the oldest and most prescribed cancer regimen, initially causes tumor reduction but ultimately fails after some period of time. She will use a multifaceted approach to interrogate chemotherapeutic resistance with the goal of identifying new methods to enhance patient treatment.

Phillip A. Dumesic, MD, PhD

Dr. Dumesic seeks to understand how physical exercise promotes health. In addition to strengthening skeletal muscle, exercise also benefits distant organ systems, providing protection from metabolic disorders and chronic diseases including cancer. These widespread effects highlight muscle’s ability to communicate via secreted signals.

Christopher J. Gibson, MD

Christopher’s research centers on the earliest steps whereby normal cells transform into abnormal cells with the potential to become cancer. He will focus on better understanding the first steps of the process by which normal blood cells become lymphomas, cancers that are generally thought to arise from blood cells that have already committed to becoming lymphocytes, an important component of the immune system. He hypothesizes, however, that some lymphomas actually arise from earlier hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs).

Eric Wang, PhD

Dr. Wang is applying a chemical biology approach to identify kinases and small molecule inhibitors that enhance the immune system’s tumor surveillance capabilities. Therapies that enhance the anti-tumor activity of the immune system have shown tremendous promise in patients; however, only a subset of patients and tumors respond well to such treatments, so identifying complementary strategies to increase the effectiveness of existing immunotherapies is increasingly important.

Geoffrey R. Oxnard, MD

Analysis of tumor DNA has transformed cancer care, allowing researchers to identify unique vulnerabilities within some cancers and treat them with highly effective, yet tolerable, targeted therapies. Moreover, emerging technologies now allow detection and analysis of tumor DNA which is circulating freely within the blood of cancer patients. Such “liquid biopsies” hold promise in their ability to accelerate the delivery of targeted therapies to appropriate cancer patients, while also allowing noninvasive monitoring of treatment outcome. Dr.

Giada Bianchi, MD

Multiple myeloma (MM) is an incurable cancer of blood cells. It evolves from monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS), a pre-malignant condition affecting 3-5% of individuals older than 50 years. MGUS patients progress to MM at a rate of 1% per year and the mechanisms underlying such transformation are unknown. No genetic driver mutations have been identified in MM to date, thus limiting our therapeutic options. Signaling through the transmembrane receptor Roundabout1 (ROBO1) is important in solid tumors, particularly gastrointestinal cancer.