Program Members

Co-Leaders

Adam Brufsky

Adam Brufsky

Program: Cancer Therapeutics

brufskyam@upmc.edu 300 Halket St
Suite 4628
Pittsburgh PA
Research Interests and Keywords
  • Breast Cancer,Clinical Trials,molecular biology of breast cancer
Read More about Adam Brufsky
Taofeek Owonikoko

Taofeek Owonikoko

Program: Cancer Therapeutics

Read More about Taofeek Owonikoko
Peter Wipf

Peter Wipf

Program: Cancer Therapeutics

412-624-8606 pwipf@pitt.edu Chevron Science Center, Suite 758
219 Parkman Avenue
Pittsburgh PA
Summary

The Wipf group develops tools of synthetic organic chemistry in the search for innovative new therapies and therapeutics. We identify original synthetic methods, strategies and molecular mechanisms, and we apply them in medicinal chemistry and chemical biology, total synthesis, and natural products chemistry. We select target molecules on the basis of their unique architectures and biological activities, as well as for showcasing our synthetic methods. We employ insights from flow and photochemistry, material science and nanoparticle research to improve synthetic access and modify the properties of our target compounds. Most significantly, we are committed to collaborative drug discovery and development in diverse therapeutic areas, including oncology, neurodegeneration, fibrosis, neuromuscular diseases, inflammation, and immunology.

Research Interests and Keywords
  • Anti-cancer therapeutics,Anti-Inflammatory Agents,Drug Discovery,heterocyclic chemistry,kinase inhibitors,medicinal chemistry,mitochondrial targeting,natural products,organic synthesis,radiation dermatitis,radiation mitigation,Radiation Protection,reactive oxygen species scavengers,Toll-Like Receptors
Read More about Peter Wipf

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Members

Kalil Abdullah

Kalil Abdullah

Program: Cancer Therapeutics

(215) 603-6019 abdullahkg@upmc.edu UPMC Cancer Pavilion
5150 Centre Ave
Pittsburgh PA
Summary

My laboratory is focused on developing novel clinical models of glioma and identifying druggable targets to facilitate early phase clinical trials.

Gliomas are intensely heterogenous tumors that not only contain numerous cell types, but also demonstrate the ability to transition between different phenotypic states. This complexity has made developing model systems that recapitulate human tumor biology both difficult and essential. Traditionally, models of gliomas are 2-dimensional cell lines and only represent certain subtypes of the highest-grade glioma, glioblastoma. This is because the unique biology of lower grade gliomas has prevented them from being studied either outside of the lab or in animals. We have created ex-vivo culture systems that allow us to investigate critical aspects of the tumor microenvironment, immune response, and discover targets for therapy. Our laboratory has previously shown the ability to establish lower grade glioma organoids in vitro, maintain those cultures for extended periods of time, hibernate, and then reanimate tumor tissue without loss of either genetic or phenotypic fidelity. Our work also includes extensive and sophisticated live-cell imaging analysis that allows for longitudinal, non-invasive assessment of organoid response to treatment.
Our organoid model systems, in addition to glioma stem cell and mouse models, allow us to perform highly sophisticated assessments of drug response across platforms, and identify rare but critical druggable targets in gliomas. These analyses include complex metabolic tracing and immune cell response assessment. Despite the fundamental principles of genomics, immunology, and cellular cancer biology that underlie our work, our group focuses on projects that have high potential for immediate clinical translation.

Read More about Kalil Abdullah
Daniel Altschuler

Daniel Altschuler

Program: Cancer Therapeutics

412-648-9751 altschul@pitt.edu Biomedical Science Tower, E-1348
200 Lothrop Street
Pittsburgh PA
Summary

Dr. Altschuler's laboratory studies mechanisms of signal transduction by the second messenger cAMP in cell proliferation. cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA) and Exchange protein activated by cAMP (Epac) represent the main effectors of cAMP action. Both pathways converge at the level of the small GTPase Rap1b, via its Epac-mediated activation and PKA-mediated phosphorylation. The role of Rap1 activation (Epac) and phosphorylation (PKA) coordinating the early rate-limiting events in cAMP-dependent cell proliferation are studied using a multidisciplinary approach including molecular and cellular biology techniques in vitro, as well as in vivo validation using transgenic/knock in technologies in endocrine tumor models.

Read More about Daniel Altschuler
Leonard Appleman

Leonard Appleman

Program: Cancer Therapeutics

412-648-6507 applemanlj@upmc.edu UPMC Cancer Pavilion
5230 Center Ave., Suite 567
Pittsburgh PA
Research Interests and Keywords
  • experimental cancer therapeutics
  • Kidney cancer and other genitourinary malignancies
Read More about Leonard Appleman
Parul Barry

Parul Barry

Program: Cancer Therapeutics

(412) 641-4600 barrypn@upmc.edu Magee Womens Hospital
300 HALKET STREET
Pittsburgh PA
Summary

I am interested in breast and gyn cancer research, specially related to preoperative and salvage radiation therapies.

Read More about Parul Barry
Jan Beumer

Jan Beumer

Program: Cancer Therapeutics

412-623-3216 beumerjh@upmc.edu G27E Hillman Cancer Center
5117 Centre Avenue
Pittsburgh PA
Research Interests and Keywords
  • nucleoside analogues and epigenetic drugs
  • Pharmacokinetics and metabolism of anti-cancer drugs
Read More about Jan Beumer
Alberto Broniscer

Alberto Broniscer

Program: Cancer Therapeutics

Read More about Alberto Broniscer
Adam Brufsky

Adam Brufsky

Program: Cancer Therapeutics

brufskyam@upmc.edu 300 Halket St
Suite 4628
Pittsburgh PA
Research Interests and Keywords
  • Breast Cancer
  • Clinical Trials
  • molecular biology of breast cancer
Read More about Adam Brufsky
Melissa Burgess

Melissa Burgess

Program: Cancer Therapeutics

burgessma@upmc.edu UPMC Cancer Pavilion
5150 Centre Ave.
Pittsburgh PA
Summary

My research is focused on clinical and translational studies of soft tissue and bone sarcomas. Currently, I am investigating an immunotherapy utilizing an anti-PD1 inhibitor for patients with advanced sarcomas. In the future, I plan to further study novel immunotherapeutic approaches for advanced sarcomas, particularly with combinatorial strategies.

Research Interests and Keywords
  • clinical and translational research
  • Immunotherapy
  • Medical Oncology
  • Sarcoma
Read More about Melissa Burgess
Yu-Chiao Chiu

Yu-Chiao Chiu

Program: Cancer Therapeutics

(412) 648-5023 YUC250@pitt.edu The Assembly, Suite 1218
5051 Centre Ave
Pittsburgh PA
Summary

Yu-Chiao (Chris) Chiu, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Chiu’s research interests include bioinformatics, machine learning, cancer genomics, and pharmacogenomics. The goal of his laboratory is to systematically model genomics and pharmacogenomics to better understand cancer biology and improve cancer therapy. His laboratory is actively funded by the NIH/NCI to develop deep learning methods that extract multi-omic signatures to predict the responses of cancer cells to chemical and genetic perturbations. Dr. Chiu’s studies are well-recognized by the broad cancer and bioinformatics communities, including the latest publications in Science Advances (highlighted by @NCIgenomics as the #1 favorite paper of 2021), BMC Medical Genomics (>100 citations and selected as Springer Nature Research Highlights in Genetics of 2019), and Briefings in Bioinformatics. The membership in UPMC Hillman Cancer Center Program will further expand the impact of Dr. Chiu’s research by teaming up with clinical, translational, and basic cancer scientists - to bridge cutting-edge computational algorithms to unmet needs in precision oncology.

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David Clump

David Clump

Program: Cancer Therapeutics

clumpda2@upmc.edu UPMC Shadyside Hospital
Department of Radiation Oncology 5230 Centre Avenue, Posner Tower
Pittsburgh PA
Summary

Dr. Clump specializes in integrating his clinical practice, which focuses on the treatment of head and neck malignancies as well as stereotactic radiosurgery, with his translational laboratory interests. As part of UPCI and UPMC CancerCenter, Dr. Clump is uniquely positioned to investigate the effects of radiation on both tumor as well as normal tissues. In this regard, he studies the DNA damage response following radiation therapy and is examining the effects of these cellular changes on tumor control as well as systemic effects.

Research Interests and Keywords
  • ATM
  • DNA damage repair
  • head and neck cancer
  • IMRT
  • normal tissue protection
  • Squamous cell carcinoma
  • stereotactic radiosurgery
Read More about David Clump
Rivka Colen

Rivka Colen

Program: Cancer Therapeutics

(412) 623-3074 colenrr@upmc.edu UPMC Cancer Pavilion, Suite 1A
5150 Centre Ave.
Pittsburgh PA
Research Interests and Keywords
  • big data in imaging and imaging–omics
  • co-clinical trials using imaging and radiogenomics
  • imaging in pseudoprogression and immunotherapy
  • Radiogenomics
  • radiomics and radiome sequencing
Read More about Rivka Colen
John Comerci

John Comerci

Program: Cancer Therapeutics

(412) 641-5275 comercijt@upmc.edu Magee-Womens Hospital
300 Halket Street
Pittsburgh PA
Research Interests and Keywords
  • cervical cancer
  • ovarian cancer
  • Photodynamic Therapy
Read More about John Comerci
Sanja Dacic

Sanja Dacic

Program: Cancer Therapeutics

dacics@upmc.edu Rm. PUH C608
UPMC-PUH 200 Lothrop St.
Pittsburgh PA
Research Interests and Keywords
  • biological tumor markers
  • Lung Neoplasms
Read More about Sanja Dacic
Alexander Deiters

Alexander Deiters

Program: Cancer Therapeutics

412-624-5515 deiters@pitt.edu 1305 Chevron, Chevron Science Center
219 Parkman Avenue
Pittsburgh PA
Summary

1) The discovery of new small organic molecules that inhibit or activate specific biological pathways is a major research topic in the lab. Our discovered microRNA inhibitors have therapeutic implications in cancer and viral infections. 2) We are genetically re-wiring the circuitry of bacterial and mammalian cells in order to give new functions to proteins and organisms. Our approach is based on the expansion of the genetic code with synthetic, unnatural amino acids. 3) Light is a unique control element that enables the regulation of biological processes with high spatial and temporal resolution. We are engineering light-responsive nucleic acids and proteins, and are applying them in cellular optobiological studies.

Research Interests and Keywords
  • Amino Acid
  • Chemical biology
  • Imaging
  • medicinal chemistry
  • microRNA
  • miRNA
  • Nucleic Acid
  • oligonucleotide
  • optogenetics
  • photobiology
  • photochemistry
  • Protein Engineering
  • synthetic biology
  • synthetic chemistry
Read More about Alexander Deiters
Kathleen Dorritie

Kathleen Dorritie

Program: Cancer Therapeutics

Read More about Kathleen Dorritie
Jan Drappatz

Jan Drappatz

Program: Cancer Therapeutics

drappatzj@upmc.edu UPMC Cancer Pavilion
5150 Center Ave
Pittsburgh PA
Summary

My research is directed towards the development of new therapies for primary and secondary brain tumors using targeted drugs, inhibitors of angiogenesis, and immunotherapies. I am also interested in the identification of molecular markers of prognosis in patients with malignant glioma and other primary brain tumors.

Research Interests and Keywords
  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors
  • brain tumors
  • CNS tumors
  • Glioblastoma
  • Glioma
  • Immunotherapy
  • neurologic complications of cancer
  • prognostic biomarkers
  • targeted therapies
Read More about Jan Drappatz
Anette Duensing

Anette Duensing

Program: Cancer Therapeutics

412-623-7731 aduensin@pitt.edu Hillman Cancer Center Research
Pavilion, Suite G.17 5117 Centre Avenue
Pittsburgh PA
Summary

The majority of gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs) are caused by oncogenic mutations in the KIT or PDGFRA protein kinases. GISTs are the prototypical example of a solid tumor entity that was fatal in the past but that can now be successfully treated with a novel class of drugs, small molecule kinase inhibitors. Imatinib mesylate (Gleevec') is the first and most prominent inhibitor belonging to this group. Although imatinib has revolutionized the treatment of GIST, the occurrence of imatinib-resistant tumors is a problem for a large number of patients. It is therefore imperative to find novel treatment options for these patients. Although an FDA-approved second-line therapy (Sutent') and an array of potential third-line therapeutic options are in clinical and preclinical trials, most of these compounds also target the activated KIT or PDGFRA kinase. This "kinase-centric" approach to novel therapies is difficult, however, because the most prominent imatinib-resistance mechanisms involve secondary mutations in KIT/PDGFRA genes themselves. Our laboratory therefore uses a different approach to identify novel treatments. We are focusing on two major strategies: 1. Over the past several years, we have successfully applied a candidate approach to find new therapeutic targets. Using this strategy, we are dissecting the molecular mechanisms of action of imatinib in the induction of apoptosis and tumor cell quiescence. Having identified the molecular players that are involved in these processes allows us to target these molecules for therapeutic purposes. 2. The second major line of research employs medium- to large-scale screening strategies. We are currently using siRNA-based screens to identify survival genes that could be targeted for therapy in GIST. Furthermore, we are screening drug compound libraries to rapidly identify novel therapeutic agents. We are also applying the above-mentioned strategies to other soft-tissue sarcomas, such as leiomyosarcomas.

Research Interests and Keywords
  • Gastrointestinal stromal tumor
  • GIST
  • Gleevec
  • Sarcoma
  • targeted therapies
Read More about Anette Duensing
Umamaheswar Duvvuri

Umamaheswar Duvvuri

Program: Cancer Therapeutics

duvvuriu@upmc.edu Eye and Ear Institute, Suite 300
203 Lothrop Street
Pittsburgh PA
Research Interests and Keywords
  • Otolaryngology
  • translational science of head and neck cancer
Read More about Umamaheswar Duvvuri
Susannah Ellsworth

Susannah Ellsworth

Program: Cancer Therapeutics

(412) 623-6720 ellsworths3@upmc.edu Shadyside Hospital, Dept of Radiation Oncology
5230 Centre Ave
Pittsburgh PA
Summary

My primary research interests are investigating the effects of external beam radiation therapy on immune status and developing novel radiation therapy techniques for gastrointestinal cancers. Currently, I am working on developing methods for calculating radiation dosimetry to the immune system during external beam radiation therapy and employing these methods to develop new
strategies to reduce immune system dose and mitigate the risk of radiation-induced lymphopenia, which has been shown to be a negative prognostic factor in multiple solid tumors including  pancreatic cancer.

Read More about Susannah Ellsworth
Christian Fernandez

Christian Fernandez

Program: Cancer Therapeutics

412-383-8108 chf63@pitt.edu 307 Salk Pavilion
335 Sutherland Drive
Pittsburgh PA
Summary

The research in the laboratory of Dr. Fernandez focuses on the pharmacogenomics of adverse drug reactions. The immunogenicity of protein-based therapeutics is a major problem that can lead to life-threatening complications and reduce or eliminate the therapeutic effects of biologics. The objectives of Dr. Fernandez’s research are to elucidate the mechanism of adverse drug reaction by identifying polymorphisms (variations) in genes that can explain why certain patients are predisposed to developing immune responses to biologics, to identify therapeutic strategies that can block and maintain therapeutic drug concentrations, and to develop clinical laboratory tests that can monitor drug bioavailability and immunogenicity to indicate when a drug substitution is appropriate. Dr. Fernandez has extensively studied the immune response to the chemotherapeutic agent, asparaginase, which is an essential component of pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) therapy.

Read More about Christian Fernandez
Paul Floreancig

Paul Floreancig

Program: Cancer Therapeutics

412-624-8727 florean@pitt.edu 1403 Chevron Science Center
219 Parkman Avenue
Pittsburgh PA
Summary

Our research is directed toward developing fundamentally new transformations and highlighting their utility for complex molecule synthesis.

Read More about Paul Floreancig
Natasha Galanina

Natasha Galanina

Program: Cancer Therapeutics

(412) 648-6575 galaninan@upmc.edu Hillman Cancer Center
5150 Centre Ave, Suite 554
Pittsburgh PA
Summary

As a clinician investigator, I am interested in the development of novel, biologically-informed therapies for relapsed/refractory high grade lymphoma. In particular, my clinical research is focused on understanding the molecular genomic profile of each tumor in order to match it to cognate therapeutic agents, an approach that provides a foundation for precision medicine trials that create individualized treatment regimens for each patient. As part of this effort, I would like to align my research with the investigators in the Precision Medicine Institute and the Center for Immunotherapy. Additionally, I’m interested in investigating the biological underpinnings of virally-mediated malignancies including EBV-driven Hodgkin lymphoma and HIV associated cancers. To that effect, I have studied the effects of checkpoint blockade (CPB) in HIV-associated Kaposi’s sarcoma. This study was the first report to demonstrate the high efficacy and tolerability of CPB in this disease space and was subsequently recognized in an AACR press release. The development of novel agents and new effective combinations based on improved understanding of tumorigenesis has been the main goal of my academic career.

Read More about Natasha Galanina
Donna Huryn

Donna Huryn

Program: Cancer Therapeutics

Read More about Donna Huryn
Annie Im

Annie Im

Program: Cancer Therapeutics

imap@upmc.edu Cancer Pavilion, Rm 554
5150 Centre Ave.
Pittsburgh PA
Summary

1) Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in elderly patients: My research focuses on epigenetic strategies in the treatment of older patients with AML. We are running a clinical trial of a novel induction regimen using epigenetic priming by decitabine followed by cytarabine in older patients with newly diagnosed AML. Epigenetic correlatives studies are planned. 2) Epigenetic strategies to prevent relapse after hematopoietic stem cell transplant: I am interested in the role of epigenetic agents as immunomodulatory therapy to prevent relapse and graft-versus-host disease in patients with AML or MDS who are at high risk for relapse after allogeneic stem cell transplant. We are running a clinical trial using azacitidine maintenance therapy after allogeneic transplant for patients with AML and MDS. Correlative studies evaluating immune reconstitution and T-cell populations are planned. 3) Chronic graft-versus host disease (GVHD): I am interested in the study of chronic GVHD and long-term follow-up of allogeneic stem cell transplant patients. I work in collaboration with the Experimental Transplantation and Immunology Branch of the National Cancer Institute in the area of chronic GVHD. I study the natural history of chronic GVHD, as well as chronic GVHD-specific complications such as bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome.

Research Interests and Keywords
  • Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML)
  • bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome
  • chronic graft-versus-host disease (GVHD)
  • Epigenetics
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation
  • hypomethylating agents
Read More about Annie Im
Paul Johnston

Paul Johnston

Program: Cancer Therapeutics

412-383-6605 paj18@pitt.edu Salk Hall Room 1014
3501 Terrace Street
Pittsburgh PA
Summary

Dr. Johnston has over two decades of drug discovery experience in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and academic sectors. Since joining the University of Pittsburgh Department of Pharmacology & Chemical Biology in 2005 to help design and build the infrastructure for a high-throughput drug discovery screening center at the Drug Discovery Institute, Dr. Johnston has led 21 screening campaigns, and reconfigured the NCI 60 cell line assays for cancer drug combination screening. In 2011, Dr. Johnston joined the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences in the School of Pharmacy to establish chemical biology laboratories, where he has continued to conduct his research in high-throughput and high-content screening (HTS/HCS) assay development and implementation, and to establish drug discovery collaborations throughout the scientific community. His research has focused on pursuing chemical biology approaches to identify small molecules with the potential to be developed into new therapies for prostate cancer, melanoma and head and neck cancer.

Research Interests and Keywords
  • assay development
  • Drug Discovery
  • HCS
  • head and neck cancer
  • high content screening
  • high throughput screening
  • HTS
  • Melanoma
  • Prostate cancer
  • Squamous cell carcinoma
Read More about Paul Johnston
Anders Josefsson

Anders Josefsson

Program: Cancer Therapeutics

(443) 310-8595 anj112@pitt.edu 5117 Centre Avenue, Suite G.17b
Pittsburgh PA
Summary

I am Ph.D. investigator and medical physicist with expertise in radiopharmaceutical dosimetry and modelling as well as PET- and SPECT-imaged based dosimetry. During my Ph.D. studies, I developed small scale/micro dosimetry models for the thyroid gland to calculate the radiation absorbed doses when treated or exposed to α-particle or Auger-electron emitting radiohalogens (e.g. Astatine and Iodine isotopes). My post-doctoral work and research as a faculty at Johns Hopkins University focused on pre-clinical and clinical projects regarding image quantification and dosimetry of radiopharmaceutical therapy and diagnostics. I have worked extensively on pre-clinical studies, developing α-particle emitting radiopharmaceuticals for treatment against metastatic breast, prostate and melanoma cancers. This includes ex vivo imaging and quantification of organs/tissues of interest with the α-Camera, helping to determine the microscale distribution and activity concentrations of the α-particle emitting radiopharmaceutical within normal organs/tissues (e.g. kidneys) and tumors. I incorporate these α-Camera images with dosimetric models to more accurately calculate and translate estimated doses from animal models to humans. My research focuses are to develop improved analysis for dosimetry of targeted radiotherapeutics by incorporating and developing non-invasive imaging techniques (i.e. PET- and SPECT-imaging), microscale dosimetry models based on α-Camera images, and more extensive evaluation of short and long-term toxicity of targeted alpha-therapy (TAT), particularly those with complex decay pathways.

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Hayeon Kim

Hayeon Kim

Program: Cancer Therapeutics

(412) 641-4602 kimxhx2@upmc.edu Magee Womens Hospital
300 HALKET STREET
Pittsburgh PA
Summary

My current focus on clinical research is cost effectiveness analyses of the various radiation treatments and patient centered reported outcomes.

Read More about Hayeon Kim
Seungwon Kim

Seungwon Kim

Program: Cancer Therapeutics

kimsw2@upmc.edu 200 Lothrop Street
EEI, Suite 500
Pittsburgh PA
Research Interests and Keywords
  • head and neck neoplasms
  • Squamous cell carcinoma
Read More about Seungwon Kim
Kazunori Koide

Kazunori Koide

Program: Cancer Therapeutics

412-624-8767 koide@pitt.edu Chevron Science Center
219 Parkman Avenue
Pittsburgh PA
Summary

We are currently studying FR901464, a natural product that regulates cancer-related genes by novel mechanisms. This compound inhibits cancer proliferation at concentrations as low as 1 nM. To study FR901464, we completed a chemical total synthesis of this natural product. Combination of this powerful, stereocontrolled chemical synthesis and cell biology will provide insights into the molecular mechanisms of FR901464. More recently, we have developed an exceptionally active FR901464 analog (meayamycin) that inhibits tumor growth at 10 pM (analogouus to one pack of sugar (5 grams) in 400 Olympic swimming pools).

Research Interests and Keywords
  • anticancer agents
  • Organic synthesis of natural products
Read More about Kazunori Koide
Anuradha Krishnamurthy

Anuradha Krishnamurthy

Program: Cancer Therapeutics

Read More about Anuradha Krishnamurthy
Song Li

Song Li

Program: Cancer Therapeutics

sol4@pitt.edu 639 Salk Hall
Pittsburgh PA
Research Interests and Keywords
  • gene regulation
  • Targeted delivery of therapeutics
Read More about Song Li
Frank Lieberman

Frank Lieberman

Program: Cancer Therapeutics

liebermanf@upmc.edu Department of Neurology
811 Kaufmann Medical Building 3471 Fifth Avenue
Pittsburgh PA
Research Interests and Keywords
  • and management of CNS neoplasms
  • molecular genetics and molecular neuropathology in diagnosis
  • neuro-oncology
  • Prognosis
Read More about Frank Lieberman
Yan Lin

Yan Lin

Program: Cancer Therapeutics

yal14@pitt.edu 130 De Soto Street
Pittsburgh PA
Research Interests and Keywords
  • Cancer bioinformatics
Read More about Yan Lin
Priscilla McAuliffe

Priscilla McAuliffe

Program: Cancer Therapeutics

mcauliffepf@mwri.magee.edu 204 Craft Avenue
Pittsburgh PA
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Jessie Nedrow

Jessie Nedrow

Program: Cancer Therapeutics

(509) 339-3695 nedrowj@upmc.edu 5117 Centre Ave
Suite G.17b
Pittsburgh PA
Summary

have expertise in molecular imaging, organic synthesis, peptide synthesis, targeted radiotherapy and cancer research including small (mice) and large (rabbits, beagles) animal models. For my research, my group focuses on the development of targeted radiotherapy (alpha and beta) for primary and metastatic hepatic tumors, metastatic melanoma, and a variety of cancers through the targeting of the neovascular. We implement a variety of imaging techniques including PET and SPECT imaging, fluoroscopy, ultrasound, CT, and alpha camera imaging within my lab. My lab is working toward the development of novel targeted radiotherapeutics and their application in a variety of cancers as well as the development of image guided strategies to maximize the therapeutic efficacy while minimizing toxicity to normal tissue.

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Alexander Olawaiye

Alexander Olawaiye

Program: Cancer Therapeutics

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Adam Olson

Adam Olson

Program: Cancer Therapeutics

(412) 623-6720 olsonac2@upmc.edu 5230 Centre Avenue
Pittsburgh PA
Summary

I am a clinical scientist in the department of Radiation Oncology whose academic career is focused on the rational use of radiation therapy in the context of multidisciplinary cancer therapeutics, specifically focusing on the role of radiation therapy with immunotherapy. I have active collaborations with Drs. Jason Luke and Riyue Bao in the TIIL lab to leverage complex datasets to identify optimal patients for whom radiation therapy might be most beneficial. I am committed to an investigative career at UPMC HCC and foresee an important role as a primary investigator in biomarker driven clinical trials as well as a collaborator with medical and surgical oncology to provide quality radiation oncology input and support for multimodality trials.

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Taofeek Owonikoko

Taofeek Owonikoko

Program: Cancer Therapeutics

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Daniel Premkumar

Daniel Premkumar

Program: Cancer Therapeutics

412-692-9233 Daniel.Premkumar@chp.edu John G. Rangos Research Center
Children's Hospital Drive 45th and Penn Avenue
Pittsburgh PA
Summary

Glioblastomas are highly invasive primary tumors with poor prognosis despite current therapies. Individual targeted therapies have failed to offer long-term survival benefits, although combinations of rationally selected inhibitors may have significant therapeutic applicability for these tumors. Studies by our group and others have also shown aberrant, constitutive activation of NF-kB and Akt as common features of malignant gliomas, supporting their functional role in contributing to apoptosis resistance and refractory growth despite cytotoxic chemotherapy, irradiation, and molecularly targeted therapies. This activation may in part reflect deletions of NF-kB inhibitor-alpha, a common alteration in malignant gliomas, dysregulated stimulation by cell surface tyrosine kinases, such as EGFR and PDGFR-alpha, which are amplified in molecular subsets of malignant gliomas, and mutations in PTEN and other molecular targets that drive Akt and NF-kB activation. Thus, new therapeutic approaches are urgently needed. We have demonstrated that inhibition of NF-kB, Akt, and Bcl-2 may constitute a promising strategy to enhance the efficacy of conventional therapies, such as irradiation and cytotoxic chemotherapy, and potentiate the activity of agents targeted against growth signaling mediators.

Research Interests and Keywords
  • anti-glioma therapeutics
  • Cancer pharmacology
  • Glioblastoma
  • Signal Transduction
Read More about Daniel Premkumar
Priya Rastogi

Priya Rastogi

Program: Cancer Therapeutics

rastogip@upmc.edu UPMC CancerCenter at Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC
300 Halket Street
Pittsburgh PA
Research Interests and Keywords
  • Breast Cancer
  • Medical Oncology
Read More about Priya Rastogi
Robert Redner

Robert Redner

Program: Cancer Therapeutics

redner@pitt.edu 2.18A Hillman Research Pavilion
5117 Centre Avenue
Pittsburgh PA
Research Interests and Keywords
  • Acute Myeloid Leukemia
  • Acute promyelocytic leukemia
  • malignant and non-malignant hematology
  • Myelodysplastic Syndromes
Read More about Robert Redner
John Schmitz

John Schmitz

Program: Cancer Therapeutics

schmitzjc@upmc.edu 5117 Centre Avenue
Hillman Cancer Center G.27
Pittsburgh PA
Research Interests and Keywords
  • colorectal cancer
  • herbal medicine
  • Signal Transduction
Read More about John Schmitz
Mark Schurdak

Mark Schurdak

Program: Cancer Therapeutics

(412) 648-3090 mes234@pitt.edu 10045 BST 3
3501 Fifth Avenue
Pittsburgh PA
Summary

My research interests center on applying a systems biology/pharmacology approach to develop more effective drug discovery strategies that utilize integrated phenotype/function-based analysis (where all targets involved are functioning in a more physiologic relevant environment) and to better understand the molecular mechanisms that cause drugs to succeed or fail in the clinic.

Research Interests and Keywords
  • Drug Discovery
  • high-content screening
  • Pharmacology
  • Systems Biology
Read More about Mark Schurdak
Gabriel Sica

Gabriel Sica

Program: Cancer Therapeutics

(412) 647-3238 sicagl@upmc.edu UPMC Presbyterian Hospital
200 Lothrop St
Pittsburgh PA
Summary

My research has focused predominantly in the pathobiology of lung cancer and how the tumor microenvironment affects the natural biology and response to treatment. Working in collaboration with colleagues from the department of medical oncology we have discovered multiple possible biomarkers for disease management. In the future, I would like to integrate digital pathology analysis platforms into these studies. Specific topics of current investigation include: 1) Small cell lung carcinoma subtypes and genomics; 2) Morphologic features of lung cancer and its stroma, impact on natural biology; 3) Grading of Neuroendocrine Tumors; 4) Senescence in lung carcinoma immune response. In addition, in my role as the co-director of TARPS and as a member of TPIL, I hope to facilitate team based science, especially with regard to tissue based investigations.

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Zaid Siddiqui

Zaid Siddiqui

Program: Cancer Therapeutics

4126238937 siddiquiza@upmc.edu 5230 Centre Ave
Pittsburgh PA
Summary

My research focuses on clinical outcomes in benign and malignant tumors of thecentral nervous system and in particular, outcomes after radiosurgery. I also have a translational research focus on applying deeplearning algorithms for high-throughput clinical outcomes analysis.

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D Lansing Taylor

D Lansing Taylor

Program: Cancer Therapeutics

dltaylor@pitt.edu 10045 Biomedical Science Tower 3
3501 Fifth Avenue
Pittsburgh PA
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Sarah Taylor

Sarah Taylor

Program: Cancer Therapeutics

(412) 641-5468 taylorse2@mail.magee.edu Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC
300 Halket Street
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Pradeep Tyagi

Pradeep Tyagi

Program: Cancer Therapeutics

412-692-4119 tyagip@upmc.edu E313 Montefiore Hospital
3459 Fifth Ave
Pittsburgh PA
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Liza Villaruz

Liza Villaruz

Program: Cancer Therapeutics

villaruzl@upmc.edu UPMC Cancer Pavilion
5150 Centre Avenue 5th Floor
Pittsburgh PA
Research Interests and Keywords
  • Clinical trials in lung cancer
  • novel therapeutics
Read More about Liza Villaruz
Andreas Vogt

Andreas Vogt

Program: Cancer Therapeutics

avogt@pitt.edu 10047 BST3
3501 5th Ave
Pittsburgh PA
Summary

My major research interests center around the discovery of small molecules with phenotypic assays in clinically relevant cellular and whole organism models. It is becoming increasingly clear that better models of the in vivo milieu are needed to improve the discovery of new drug candidates. Zebrafish, C. elegans, and Drosophila in particular provide unique opportunities to discover novel potential therapeutics using functional assays in a living animal as a complement to cellular and tissue model approaches. Together with members in the Departments of Neurology and Developmental Biology, I have established methodology for zebrafish chemical screening, generated automated image analysis tools for quantification of reporter gene expression, and automated neurobehavioral assays in multiwell plate formats. Currently, active zebrafish discovery projects include kidney and heart regeneration, angiogenesis and vascular malformations, early safety assessment, and neurodegenerative diseases. Cancer-related research efforts include the discovery of small molecule modulators of mitogen-activated protein kinase phosphatases (MKPs), PUMA, profilin-1, and estrogen receptor alpha as treatments for metastatic breast and colon cancer.

Research Interests and Keywords
  • Breast Cancer
  • Drug Discovery
  • dual specificity phosphatase
  • high-content screening
  • phenotypic assays
  • Zebrafish
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Qiming Wang

Qiming Wang

Program: Cancer Therapeutics

qjw1@pitt.edu E1354 BSTWR
200 Lothrop Street
Pittsburgh PA
Research Interests and Keywords
  • Cancer pharmacology
  • drug discovery
  • protein kinases & phosphatases
  • Signal Transduction
  • structural pharmacology
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Peter Wipf

Peter Wipf

Program: Cancer Therapeutics

412-624-8606 pwipf@pitt.edu Chevron Science Center, Suite 758
219 Parkman Avenue
Pittsburgh PA
Summary

The Wipf group develops tools of synthetic organic chemistry in the search for innovative new therapies and therapeutics. We identify original synthetic methods, strategies and molecular mechanisms, and we apply them in medicinal chemistry and chemical biology, total synthesis, and natural products chemistry. We select target molecules on the basis of their unique architectures and biological activities, as well as for showcasing our synthetic methods. We employ insights from flow and photochemistry, material science and nanoparticle research to improve synthetic access and modify the properties of our target compounds. Most significantly, we are committed to collaborative drug discovery and development in diverse therapeutic areas, including oncology, neurodegeneration, fibrosis, neuromuscular diseases, inflammation, and immunology.

Research Interests and Keywords
  • Anti-cancer therapeutics
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Drug Discovery
  • heterocyclic chemistry
  • kinase inhibitors
  • medicinal chemistry
  • mitochondrial targeting
  • natural products
  • organic synthesis
  • radiation dermatitis
  • radiation mitigation
  • Radiation Protection
  • reactive oxygen species scavengers
  • Toll-Like Receptors
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Norman Wolmark

Norman Wolmark

Program: Cancer Therapeutics

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Antoinette Wozniak

Antoinette Wozniak

Program: Cancer Therapeutics

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Wen Xie

Wen Xie

Program: Cancer Therapeutics

wex6@pitt.edu 633 Salk Hall
Pittsburgh PA
Summary

Dr. Xie's laboratory studies orphan nuclear receptor-mediated regulation of genes encoding drug metabolizing enzymes and transporters. The same enzymes and transporters are also responsible for the homeostasis of endogenous chemicals (endobiotics) that include steroid hormones, cholesterol, lipids, bile acids and bilirubin. Research in the Xie lab has helped to establish members of the orphan nuclear receptor family, such as PXR (pregnane X receptor), CAR (constitutive androstane receptor), LXR (liver X receptor) and ROR (retinoid-related orphan receptor), as xeno- and endo-sensors that sense xeno- and endobiotics which, in turn, lead to enzyme and transporter gene regulation. This regulation has broad implications in drug metabolism and drug development. Moreover, these orphan receptors can be explored as therapeutic targets for the treatment and prevention of human diseases, such as cholestasis, jaundice, gallstone disease, breast cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, and metabolic syndrome. To better understand the transcriptional regulation of enzymes and transporters and the significance of this regulation in vivo, the Xie lab has created a wide array of genetic engineered mice with compromised (gene knockout), heightened (transgenic), or humanized receptor activities. The humanized mice, created by replacing the mouse receptor with its human counterpart, have provided unique tools to dissect orphan nuclear receptor-mediated gene regulation through molecular, genomic, and pharmacological approaches. Research in the Xie lab has been funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), National Institute of Child Health and Development (NICHD), National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), Department of Defense (DOD), Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Research Foundation, and the American Heart Association (AHA). Dr. Xie is the recipient of the University of Pittsburgh Chancellor's Distinguished Research Award, the James R. Gillette International Society for the Study of Xenobiotics (ISSX) North American New Investigator Award, the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET) Division for Drug Metabolism Early Career Achievement Award, and the Joseph Koslow Endowed Chair in Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Research Interests and Keywords
  • Breast Cancer
  • colon cancer
  • Drug metabolism
  • gene regulation
  • liver disease
  • metabolic syndrome
  • nuclear hormone receptors
  • Prostate cancer
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