Current Grants

Diego Martinez Alonso, Ph.D.

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston MA

PROJECT: Evaluation of CDK4/6 roles in RNA processing in cancer

Alternative splicing allows cells to modify the information encoded in RNA molecules by joining parts of a gene in different combinations, increasing protein diversity and adaptation to environmental cues. We have discovered that the proteins CDK4/6, frequently deregulated in cancer, control this process in normal and tumor cells

The relevance of CDK4/6 inhibitors in the clinic was an important consideration when choosing this research. With the crucial help of NCC funding, our work can help understand the biological implication of this novel role and improve the use of CDK4/6 inhibitors as anticancer drugs.”


image001 (1)

Tanzina Tanu , Ph.D.

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston MA

PROJECT: Investigating recurrently mutated RNA surveillance component ZC3H18 in melanoma

Our cells make defective ‘junk’ RNAs, luckily RNA surveillance machinery identifies and disposes of them. I will work to understand why recurrent mutations occur in RNA surveillance genes in cancer.

“I chose this research because I have a long-standing interest in understanding how RNA surveillance shapes gene expression in human disease. This work has the promise of revealing new therapeutic targets for melanoma, the most lethal type of skin cancer. I am thankful to the National Cancer Center for helping to advance my long-term career goal of becoming an independent researcher who uses basic science to discover new therapies for patients.”



Sydney Moyer, Ph.D.

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston MA

PROJECT: Th1 cells with increased adhesion pathway expression are required for inflammation-associated colorectal cancer development and progression

“We are investigating how a population of immune cells, Th1 cells, which are present during chronic intestinal inflammation may play a role in colon cancer development. Intestinal inflammation in general is increasing in prevalence due to environmental and dietary factors; thus, it is imperative that we investigate how this inflammation influences colorectal tumorigenesis. The funds from the National Cancer Center are vital to both the scientific advancement of this project as well as establishing myself as an early independent investigator.”



Xiaowei Wu, Ph.D.

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston MA

PROJECT: Targeting residual cancer cells upon CDK4/6 inhibition

“Anti-cancer drugs called ‘CDK4/6 inhibitors’ arrest the proliferation of cancer cells, but they are unable to eliminate the residual cancer cells. My project aims to facilitate the killing of those residual cancer cells. This study will provide new therapies to prevent cancer relapse and improve patient survival. The NCC fellowship grant will not only ensure the successful completion of this project but also support my career development as a cancer researcher.”



Guimei Jiang, Ph.D.

NY University, New York, NY

PROJECT: Use of cancer associated CTCF mutations to investigate CTCFs role in regulating imprinted regions and their contribution to cancer

“We study how high frequency cancer associated CTCF mutations contribute to tumorigenesis through global changes in gene regulation and disruption of allelic imprinting.

Understanding the mechanisms that give rise to cancer is critical for finding effective cures. My specific interest is in determining how chromatin organization at the three dimensional level orchestrates specific transcriptional programs, and how disruption of chromatin architecture reprograms these in an oncogenic manner.  Funding from the NCC has provided me with the opportunity to investigate how cancer associated mutations of a key architectural protein, CTCF give rise to disease, while at the same time providing a deeper understanding of CTCF biology.”




Minzeng Zhang, M.D., Ph.D.

Dana-Farber Cancer Inst, Boston, MA

PROJECT: Quantitative immune profiling of mantle cell lymphoma for precision therapy

We are examining the immune system of patients with mantle cell lymphoma and revealing specific features that can predict clinical responses and inform the selection of optimal treatments. This project will address the clinical priorities and promote a shift to precision medicine approaches in mantle cell lymphoma. The funds from the National Cancer Center will advance my research and goal to become a physician-scientist leading an independent research laboratory primarily focused on experimental therapeutics in lymphoid malignancies.



Chitra Rawat, Ph.D.

Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland OH

PROJECT: Elucidating the role of CIT-Mediated phosphorylation on pre-mRNA splicing in prostate cancer

“My research work focuses on defining phosphorylation-dependent pre-mRNA splicing events associated with prostate cancer progression. I chose this project because it is designed to deliver new therapeutic strategies that may overcome treatment resistance and progression in prostate cancer, the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in American men. The NCC grant will provide critical support to establish the early stage of this line of research and will be a key step toward achieving my career goal of becoming an independent researcher.”



He Eric Zhu, Ph.D.

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston MA

PROJECT: Global Ubiquitome Profiling by Transpeptidation Aided Mass Spectrometry (TAMS) to Decipher the Ubiquitin Signaling of USP7 in Ewing sarcoma



Pietro Berico, Ph.D.

New York University Medical School

PROJECT: Targeting Melanoma Plasticity Underpin Drug Resistance and Metastatic Progression



Audifas Salvador Matus Meza, Ph.D.

Univ of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE

PROJECT: Development of an NTSR1-targeted Radiotherapeutic for Colorectal Cancer and Other NTSR1-positive Cancers



Yongji Zeng, Ph.D.

Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX

PROJECT: The role and regulation of the Hippo pathway in paligenosis



Gaurav Chauhan, Ph.D.

Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland OH

PROJECT: Deciphering the role for PKN1-SRF signaling in deregulated gene expression and splicing events in treatment-resistant prostate cancer



Youngbin Cho, Ph.D.

University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh PA

PROJECT: Myosin II as a target for suppressing tumor-associated macrophage recruitment in triple-negative breast cancer



Yi Shi, Ph.D.

Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore MD

PROJECT: Intratumoral hypoxia promotes metastatic liver-organotropism in breast cancer




Lizhong Ding, Ph.D.

The University of California, Los Angeles

PROJECT: Liver specific fibrosis drives immunosuppression in metastatic melanoma



Jungmin Lee, Ph.D.

The University of California, San Francisco

PROJECT: Synthetic control of effector T cell infiltration into immune-excluded tumors