Grants 2022-2023

National Cancer Center 2020/2021 Grants

The following post-doc fellowship grants and renewals were approved for 2020/2021

Manqi Zhang, Ph.D.

Duke University, Durham, NC

PROJECT: Loss of ALK4 promotes EMT through regulation of Golgi-mediated receptor glycosylation in pancreatic cancer

“Loss of ALK4 function via mutation of loss of expression is a frequent event in pancreatic cancer and associated with poor clinical outcomes. The NCC grant allows me to study the mechanism by which loss of ALK4 function contributes to cancer progression and metastasis.”


Ibtehaj Naqvi, M.D., Ph.D.

Duke University, Durham, NC

PROJECT: Mitigating inflammation using nucleic acid scavengers to prevent breast cancer metastasis

“I am studying how chronic inflammation promotes breast cancer metastasis and I am using a novel polymer-based approach to block this chronic inflammation and prevent breast cancer metastasis.”


Sohini Chakraborty, Ph.D.

New York Univ School of Medicine, New York, NY

PROJECT: Therapeutic targeting of stem cells in pediatric acute myeloid leukemia

“I am studying how the cell surface protein CD97 promotes stem cell function in pediatric acute myeloid leukemia, and if it may be therapeutically targeted with antibodies.”


Mireia Perez Verdaguer, Ph.D.

University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

PROJECT: Improving the Tumor-Suppressing Efficacy of EGFR Antibodies on Head-and-Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma

“Despite the well-established role of EGFR in tumorigenesis, Cetuximab, a therapeutic EGFR antibody, helps only a small fraction of patients. This project aims to understand whether inhibition of stress-induced signaling processes may increase accessibility of EGFR to Cetuximab and improve its antitumoral effectiveness.”


David M. Gau, Ph.D.

University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

PROJECT: Profilin-1 as a Target for Vascular Normalization and Treatment for Renal Cell Carcinoma
“A common theme of clear cell renal cell carcinoma, the most common subtype of kidney cancer, is the highly vascularized nature of the tumor environment. Anti-angiogenic treatments for this type of cancer typically will see cancer progression due to innate resistant mechanisms. I was interested in this project due to my previous PhD work on identifying fundamental targets to regulate blood vessel formation, that is, targeting processes that have limited alternative mechanisms.”

Giulia Cova, Ph.D.

New York University Medical Center, New York, NY

PROJECT: Defining the mechanisms by which genetic alterations in CTCF and CTCFL drive oncogenic transcription programs
“DNA is packaged within the nucleus in a highly organized manner which is important for gene regulation. Appropriate DNA folding relies on the architectural protein CTCF that is frequently genetically altered in cancer.  The goal of my project is to understand how these lesions contribute to oncogenic programs.”

David Frankhouser, Ph.D.

Beckman Research Institute of the City of Hope, Duarte California

PROJECT: Detecting neovascularity in MRI to identify and predict breast cancer 

“I am excited to develop analytical and machine learning methods to identify vessels to extend early detection of biologically aggressive breast cancers”


Atma Maria Ivancevic, Ph.D.

Regents of the Univ of Colorado

PROJECT: Elucidating the functional and genomic impact of retrocopies on cancer
“My research investigates a novel role for ancient retroviruses in causing human disease, focusing on their potential to change the expression of nearby genes in cancer cells.”

Joy Bianchi, Ph.D.

NYU Langone Health

PROJECT: Targeting copy number alterations to overcome immune evasion in melanoma
“I am interested in identifying new biomarkers to predict melanoma patients’ response to immunotherapy by studying the relationship between the capacity of tumor cells to escape our immune system and chromosomal abnormalities in cancer.”

James J. Kaminski, Ph.D.

Boston Children’s Hospital

PROJECT: Identification of immunological circuits that regulate cGvHD

“I am working to identify the mechanisms that drive chronic graft-vs-host disease, the most deadly long-term complication for bone marrow transplants patients.”


William Maguire, M.D., Ph.D.

University of Pittsburgh

PROJECT: Biomarkers of sulforaphane for therapeutic prevention of melanoma
“My research interests comprise early phase drug development in the field of therapeutic prevention of melanoma.  The lack of systemic agents to prevent melanoma represents an important unmet need, given that the incidence of melanoma in the United States continues to rise more rapidly than that of most other common cancers.”

Haopeng Xiao, Ph.D.

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

PROJECT: Proteomic approaches to investigate Redox control in cancer
“In this proposal, a proteomic strategy will be developed to identify cysteine signaling sites of reactive oxygen species that play crucial cancer-driving versus cancer-inhibiting roles.”

Siang-Boon Koh, Ph.D.

Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center

PROJECT: Synergistic targeting of DNA damage response and EMT pathways to reverse RASAL2-driven chemoresistance
“I am studying the mechanisms of treatment resistance in aggressive breast cancer, with the goal to devise more effective and rational therapies against these tumors.”