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Cancer Research Day is Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022

All Penn State students, trainees, faculty and staff interested in cancer research careers are invited to attend the fifth annual Cancer Research Day hybrid event on Saturday, Oct. 15, from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the Berg Auditorium in the Huck Life Sciences Center on the University Park campus.

Agenda will be posted at a later date.

Register here

Event overview

About Cancer Research Day

The annual Cancer Research Day provides attendees with the opportunity to collaborate with peers and learn more about cancer research careers from established research professionals with a variety of backgrounds who can support trainees as they showcase their own research. Event organizers hope students, trainees and faculty are inspired to grow and expand their cancer research careers.

This year’s program features oral talks from current cancer research trainees, a keynote speaker in an established cancer research career and a poster session. Only the keynote and trainee speaker sessions will be live-streamed.

Those invited to attend include:

  • Undergraduate students
  • Medical students
  • Graduate students
  • Postdoctoral scholars
  • Residents and fellows
  • Faculty
  • Staff

Featured speakers

  • Shannon L. Maude, MD, PhD

    A head-and-shoulders portrait of Shannon Maude, MD, PhD

    Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
    Division of Oncology
    The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
    University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
    Due to unforeseen circumstances, Dr. Catherine Bollard is now unable to join us as our keynote speaker. We are excited that Dr. Shannon Maude was recommended by Dr. Bollard, and will be joining us as the 2022 Cancer Research Day keynote speaker.
  • This year’s cancer research trainee speakers include two postdoctoral scholars, three graduate students and one medical student who have been actively involved in research projects with Penn State Cancer Institute members. These researchers were selected to provide insight into the various cancer research learning opportunities possible across Penn State campuses and at different education levels and departments.

    Attendees will have the opportunity to ask speakers questions about their presentations, as well as their careers and research.

    Upendar Golla, PhD

    Upendar GollaCurrent Role/Position: Postdoctoral scholar
    Current Department: Medicine
    Campus: Hershey
    Title: Combinatorial Use of Rho Kinase Inhibitors and Venetoclax for the Treatment of Acute Myeloid Leukemia
    Additional Investigators: Arati Sharma, David F. Claxton
    Purpose: Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) is aggressive blood cancer with limited treatment options due to complexity and poor understanding of underlying biology. Even though AML patients get the same treatment, some get cured, some do not respond (resistant), whereas others see the return of disease (relapse). My presentation discusses a new treatment strategy of combining two different class of drugs (inhibitors of ROCK and Bcl2) to treat AML effectively.


    Maryknoll Linscott

    Maryknoll LinscottCancer Research Training and Education Coordination Core Travel Awardee
    Current Role/Position: Graduate student (MD/PhD)
    Current Department: Gittlen Laboratories for Cancer Research
    Campus: Hershey
    Title: Cooperation between giants: Selection for a preferred threshold of PI3K pathway activation in Myc-driven mammary tumorigenesis
    Additional Investigators: Shelley Gestl, Edward Gunther
    Purpose: My research focuses on the cooperation between two of the most commonly altered genes in breast cancer – PIK3CA and MYC. Mutant PIK3CA, a clinically validated target, can be exploited in treating undruggable MYC-amplified breast cancers. Using genetically-modified mouse models, we discovered the need for a threshold in mutant PIK3CA expression to promote MYC-driven tumor growth.


    Melanie Potiaumpai, PhD, MPH

    Melanie PotiaumpaiCurrent Role/Position: Postdoctoral scholar
    Current Department: Public Health Sciences
    Campus: Hershey
    Title: Exercise or Stem Cell Transplant: Which Comes First?
    Additional Investigators: Kathryn Schmitz, Shin Mineishi
    Purpose: Hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) in adults is an intensive medical procedure for a variety of hematologic malignancies. Although there is a large body of evidence demonstrating the negative effects of HSCT on physical function and psychosocial parameters, there is limited evidence on the impact of HSCT on body composition and bone health. Prehabilitation, or prehab, is the use of exercise to improve physical and psychological health before medical treatment to reduce the incidence and severity of treatment-related effects. The aim of this study is to investigate the feasibility, acceptability, and safety of a resistance training exercise program in patients with hematologic malignancies prior to HSCT and to further elucidate the effects of exercise on physical, psychosocial, and body composition changes.


    Fenghua Qian

    Fenghua QianCancer Research Training and Education Coordination Core Travel Awardee
    Current Role/Position: Graduate student
    Current Department: Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences
    Campus: University Park
    Title: Endogenous fatty acid metabolites in myeloid leukemia therapy
    Additional Investigators: Shaneice K. Nettleford, Brooke E. Arner, Robert F. Paulson and K. Sandeep Prabhu
    Purpose: My research is focused on the treatment of myeloid leukemia. I verified the therapeutic value of endogenous fatty acid metabolites, typically cyclopentenone prostaglandins, in acute and chronic myeloid leukemia. I also uncovered the mechanism of how these metabolites targeted the leukemic cells and provided evidence to support clinical translational studies.


    Miaolu Tang

    Miaolu TangCurrent Role/Position: Graduate student
    Current Department: Pediatrics
    Campus: Hershey
    Title: HMOX1 is Required for Tumor Necrosis Formation During Glioblastoma Progression
    Additional Investigators: Soo Yeon Kim, Yiju Wei, Tong Lu, Jessica Thorpe, Stephen Chih, Wei Li
    Purpose: Glioblastoma is the most common primary malignant brain tumor in adults with a special phenotype of prominent necrosis that is correlated with poor prognosis. It is still unclear how tumor necrosis develops during tumor progression and how necrotic tumors become more aggressive. Our study aims to find answers to these unresolved issues and to help develop novel targeted therapies.


    Hannah Wilding

    Hannah WildingCurrent Role/Position: Medical student
    Current Department: Neurosurgery
    Campus: University Park
    Title: The influence of local gene expression on location variance of brain metastases: a proof-of-concept study utilizing novel neuroimaging techniques
    Additional Investigators: Cain Dudek, Debarati Bhanja, Angel Baroz, Caleb Stahl, Jürgen Germann, Aaron Loh, Clement. T. Chow, Alexandre Boutet, Andres M. Lozano, Alireza Mansouri
    Purpose: Brain metastases are the most prevalent adult brain tumor and most commonly arise from lung, breast or melanoma primary cancers. Prior research has suggested that different primary tumors may metastasize to unique brain regions. Variations in the genomic environment of different brain regions are hypothesized to influence seeding of tumor cells, hence explaining this differential metastasis. Utilizing a neuroimaging-based brain atlas, this study validated findings of prior literature, demonstrating predilection for metastases to occur in distinct brain regions according to primary tumor subtype and regional gene expression.

Shannon L. Maude, MD, PhD

A head-and-shoulders portrait of Shannon Maude, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
Division of Oncology
The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Due to unforeseen circumstances, Dr. Catherine Bollard is now unable to join us as our keynote speaker. We are excited that Dr. Shannon Maude was recommended by Dr. Bollard, and will be joining us as the 2022 Cancer Research Day keynote speaker.

This year’s cancer research trainee speakers include two postdoctoral scholars, three graduate students and one medical student who have been actively involved in research projects with Penn State Cancer Institute members. These researchers were selected to provide insight into the various cancer research learning opportunities possible across Penn State campuses and at different education levels and departments.

Attendees will have the opportunity to ask speakers questions about their presentations, as well as their careers and research.

Upendar Golla, PhD

Upendar GollaCurrent Role/Position: Postdoctoral scholar
Current Department: Medicine
Campus: Hershey
Title: Combinatorial Use of Rho Kinase Inhibitors and Venetoclax for the Treatment of Acute Myeloid Leukemia
Additional Investigators: Arati Sharma, David F. Claxton
Purpose: Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) is aggressive blood cancer with limited treatment options due to complexity and poor understanding of underlying biology. Even though AML patients get the same treatment, some get cured, some do not respond (resistant), whereas others see the return of disease (relapse). My presentation discusses a new treatment strategy of combining two different class of drugs (inhibitors of ROCK and Bcl2) to treat AML effectively.


Maryknoll Linscott

Maryknoll LinscottCancer Research Training and Education Coordination Core Travel Awardee
Current Role/Position: Graduate student (MD/PhD)
Current Department: Gittlen Laboratories for Cancer Research
Campus: Hershey
Title: Cooperation between giants: Selection for a preferred threshold of PI3K pathway activation in Myc-driven mammary tumorigenesis
Additional Investigators: Shelley Gestl, Edward Gunther
Purpose: My research focuses on the cooperation between two of the most commonly altered genes in breast cancer – PIK3CA and MYC. Mutant PIK3CA, a clinically validated target, can be exploited in treating undruggable MYC-amplified breast cancers. Using genetically-modified mouse models, we discovered the need for a threshold in mutant PIK3CA expression to promote MYC-driven tumor growth.


Melanie Potiaumpai, PhD, MPH

Melanie PotiaumpaiCurrent Role/Position: Postdoctoral scholar
Current Department: Public Health Sciences
Campus: Hershey
Title: Exercise or Stem Cell Transplant: Which Comes First?
Additional Investigators: Kathryn Schmitz, Shin Mineishi
Purpose: Hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) in adults is an intensive medical procedure for a variety of hematologic malignancies. Although there is a large body of evidence demonstrating the negative effects of HSCT on physical function and psychosocial parameters, there is limited evidence on the impact of HSCT on body composition and bone health. Prehabilitation, or prehab, is the use of exercise to improve physical and psychological health before medical treatment to reduce the incidence and severity of treatment-related effects. The aim of this study is to investigate the feasibility, acceptability, and safety of a resistance training exercise program in patients with hematologic malignancies prior to HSCT and to further elucidate the effects of exercise on physical, psychosocial, and body composition changes.


Fenghua Qian

Fenghua QianCancer Research Training and Education Coordination Core Travel Awardee
Current Role/Position: Graduate student
Current Department: Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences
Campus: University Park
Title: Endogenous fatty acid metabolites in myeloid leukemia therapy
Additional Investigators: Shaneice K. Nettleford, Brooke E. Arner, Robert F. Paulson and K. Sandeep Prabhu
Purpose: My research is focused on the treatment of myeloid leukemia. I verified the therapeutic value of endogenous fatty acid metabolites, typically cyclopentenone prostaglandins, in acute and chronic myeloid leukemia. I also uncovered the mechanism of how these metabolites targeted the leukemic cells and provided evidence to support clinical translational studies.


Miaolu Tang

Miaolu TangCurrent Role/Position: Graduate student
Current Department: Pediatrics
Campus: Hershey
Title: HMOX1 is Required for Tumor Necrosis Formation During Glioblastoma Progression
Additional Investigators: Soo Yeon Kim, Yiju Wei, Tong Lu, Jessica Thorpe, Stephen Chih, Wei Li
Purpose: Glioblastoma is the most common primary malignant brain tumor in adults with a special phenotype of prominent necrosis that is correlated with poor prognosis. It is still unclear how tumor necrosis develops during tumor progression and how necrotic tumors become more aggressive. Our study aims to find answers to these unresolved issues and to help develop novel targeted therapies.


Hannah Wilding

Hannah WildingCurrent Role/Position: Medical student
Current Department: Neurosurgery
Campus: University Park
Title: The influence of local gene expression on location variance of brain metastases: a proof-of-concept study utilizing novel neuroimaging techniques
Additional Investigators: Cain Dudek, Debarati Bhanja, Angel Baroz, Caleb Stahl, Jürgen Germann, Aaron Loh, Clement. T. Chow, Alexandre Boutet, Andres M. Lozano, Alireza Mansouri
Purpose: Brain metastases are the most prevalent adult brain tumor and most commonly arise from lung, breast or melanoma primary cancers. Prior research has suggested that different primary tumors may metastasize to unique brain regions. Variations in the genomic environment of different brain regions are hypothesized to influence seeding of tumor cells, hence explaining this differential metastasis. Utilizing a neuroimaging-based brain atlas, this study validated findings of prior literature, demonstrating predilection for metastases to occur in distinct brain regions according to primary tumor subtype and regional gene expression.

Contact

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For more information

With questions about the event, contact Tonya Krushinsky:

Click here to register