Elise C. Jeffery, PhD

Dr. Jeffery studies “stromal cells” that support the function of blood stem cells in the bone marrow. Cancer treatments such as irradiation and chemotherapy damage the bone marrow, and the repair of this tissue is crucial for the recovery of the blood system. She is characterizing the role of a newly identified factor produced by stromal cells in this rebuilding process. These studies have the potential to enhance our understanding of bone marrow repair, and to identify new methods for improving the recovery of the blood system in cancer patients following irradiation or chemotherapy.

Lindsay B. Case, PhD

Dr. Case is establishing an in vitro experimental system to study the formation of integrin signaling complexes on model membranes. Integrins form multiprotein signaling complexes that are essential for the survival, growth, and migration of tumor cells; integrins and their associated proteins are commonly mutated or misregulated in diverse cancer types. She will elucidate the molecular interactions and physical mechanisms that regulate the assembly of  integrin complexes to potentially reveal novel strategies for disrupting integrin signaling in cancer.

Deepak Nijhawan, MD, PhD

Despite recent advances, lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer related death in the United States, and there is an urgent need for new therapies. The most successful treatments for lung cancer to date are the targeted drugs erlotinib and crizotinib. These drugs block tumor growth in cancers that respectively harbor either mutations in EGFR or translocations in the ALK gene. Unfortunately, only a minor fraction of patients’ tumors have EGFR mutations or ALK translocations; therefore, the vast majority of patients lack an effective targeted therapy.