Sackler Cancer Biology Awardees Named

The recipients of the 2013-2014 Sackler Families Collaborative Cancer Biology Awards have been selected. These awards support a student stipend and provide monies to supplement research costs for one year. These awards are designed to provide support for innovative studies in cancer biology that will advance our knowledge of this disease and have the potential for translation and an eventual impact on patient care.

This year's recipients are Kristina Cotter, CMP student and Michael Forgac, PhD, Adviser for their project “Elucidation of the Role of the V-ATPases in Breast Cancer Cell Invasion” PhD, Advisor and Shreya Kulkarni, CMP student and Brent Cochran, PhD, Adviser for their project “Identification of Genes required for Glioblastoma Stem Cell Growth and Survival using Pooled RNAi Screening with Next Generation Sequencing”.

Cotter and Forgac

Michael Forgac, PhD and his Cellular & Molecular Physiology student Kristina Cotter received a Sackler Family Collaborative Cancer Biology Research Award this year for their application “Elucidation of the Role of the V-ATPases in Breast Cancer Cell Invasion”. Their work focuses on identifying new targets that will combat metastatic breast cancer, the form of the disease that is responsible the death of women suffering from this disease. They will test the possibility that the vacuolar (H+)-ATPase (V-ATPase), an ATP-dependent proton pump that transports protons across intracellular and plasma membranes, plays a key role in this process. Following up on the observation that inhibition of the pump inhibits breast cancer cell invasion in vitro, the team will test the mechanism underlying this phenomenon and focus on the possibility that effects on cathepsins and other proteases are involved. In the longer term, their results could help develop strategies to block metastasis through targeting V-ATPases.

Kulkarni and Cochran

Brent Cochran, PhD and his Cellular & Molecular Physiology student Shreya Kulkarni received a Sackler Family Collaborative Cancer Biology Research Award this year for their application “Identification of Genes required for Glioblastoma Stem Cell Growth and Survival using Pooled RNAi Screening with Next Generation Sequencing”.  This team is focused on glioblastoma, an aggressive primary brain cancer with very poor prognosis.  Because cells within these tumors that survive in hypoxic conditions are thought to be involved in tumor recurrence, the phase of the disease that leads to death, Cochran and Kulkarni will use  a genome-wide pooled RNAi screening approach along with Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) to identify novel genetic targets for the development of drugs targeting the glioblastoma stem cells as well as understand the molecular mechanisms involved in this type of cancer.

Research Spotlight

Read up on the research of our featured PhD student and faculty member in our Research Spotlight.