Lombardi Research Days Highlights Vibrancy of Student Projects

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The Fifteenth Annual Lombardi Research Days took place on March 7 and 8, 2013 in the Research Building of Georgetown University Medical Center, where hopeful students gathered to display and share their scientific findings in cancer research. This event is held each year to allow all trainees in Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center to present their research next to that of their peers, and to gain valuable feedback from a panel of senior researchers.

“Lombardi Research Days is an opportunity to view the plethora of high-impact research being performed in the tumor biology department, and it was an honor to showcase my research next to my peers,” says Casey Shuptrine, a PhD candidate in the Tumor Biology Training Program, who took the top prize in the Senior Predoctoral Students of the Undergraduate/Master’s/Predoctoral Category for his project on immune response in cancer. 

“My project looks at the estrogen-induced apoptosis patterns of two breast cancer cell lines to begin to understand why only 30% of breast cancer patients respond to estrogen therapy after antihormone resistance occurs,” says Elizabeth Sweeney, the winner in the Junior Predoctoral Students of the Undergraduate/Master’s/Predoctoral Category, “My data thus far suggests that defense against oxidative stress may be critical for the survival of breast cancer cells in this setting.”

Louis M. Weiner, MD, director of Georgetown Lombardi, called interacting with students at events such as Lombardi Research Days one of the greatest rewards of his work at the Center. “This ceremony is my favorite ceremony,” he said at the awards reception where the winners were announced, adding that the work of students provides much vibrancy to the Center.

The poster competition was held on Thursday, March 7. Winners were announced on Friday, March 8 in the categories of Undergraduate/Master’s/Predoctoral and Postdoctoral. The Undergraduate/Master’s/Predoctoral Category consists of Senior Predoctoral Awards, Junior Predoctoral Award, and Outstanding Undergraduate Poster. 

“As an undergraduate, I have worked at Lombardi since my freshman year and have had the great fortune of attending the past Lombardi Research Days. It was truly an honor to be able to present my work in Dr. [Chunling] Yi‘s lab and to share with Lombardi some of our work,” says Michael Kiritsy, who won for best undergraduate poster.

Undergraduate/Master’s/Predoctoral Category
Senior Predoctoral Students
Winner: Casey Shuptrine (Mentor: Dr. Louis Weiner)
A Functional Genomics Approach to Overcome Tumor-Derived Immune Suppression

Undergraduate/Master’s/Predoctoral Category
Senior Predoctoral Students
Runner-Up: Sonya Parpart (Mentors: Dr. Christopher Loffredo/Dr. Xin Wang (NCI))
A Functional Interaction between Alpha-fetoprotein and miRNA-29 Modulates the HCC Epigenome

Undergraduate/Master’s/Predoctoral Category
Junior Predoctoral Students
Winner: Elizabeth Sweeney (Mentor: Dr. V. Craig Jordan)
Mechanisms Underlying Differential Response To Estrogen-Induced Apoptosis in long-term estrogen-deprived breast cancer cell lines

Undergraduate/Master’s/Predoctoral Category
Outstanding Undergraduate Poster
Winner: Michael Charles Kiritsy (Mentor: Dr. Chunling Yi)
The Function Of Angiomotin In The Hippo-Yap Pathway

Postdoctoral Fellow Category
Winner: Mahandranauth Anand Chetram (Mentor: Dr. Rabindra Roy)
Noncanonical Function of the DNA Repair Glycosylase, NTH1,
Induces DNA Mutation and Gene Expression

Runner-Up: Katherine Cook (Mentor: Dr. Robert Clarke)
Autophagy and Unfolded Protein Response (UPR) Signaling Regulates
Progression of Apoptosis in Mammary Gland Involution

By Sarah Kana, Georgetown Lombardi Communications 

(Published March 20, 2013)