Molecular Oncology in the News

December 2021

  • Congratulations to the Winners of the Molecular Oncology Research in Progress series for Outstanding Presentations (July-December 2021):

Junior Trainee Awards:

  • 1st Place, Daniel Lester (Lau lab)
  • 2nd Place, Nicol Mecozzi (Karreth lab)
  • 3rd Place Tie, Tie Tracess Smalley, PhD (Binning lab) & Kaizhen Wang (Karreth lab)
Daniel Lester Nicol Mecozzi Tracess Smalley Kaizhe Wang
Daniel Lester, 1st Place Junior Trainee Nicol Mecozzi, 2nd Place Junior Trainee From left, Tracess Smalley, PhD, and Kaizhen Wang, 3rd Place Junior Trainee

Senior Trainee Awards:

  • 1st Place, Marco Napoli, PhD (Flores lab)
  • 2nd Place, Laura Torrente, PhD (DeNicola lab)
  • 3rd Place, John Lockhart, PhD (Flores lab)
Marco Napoli Laura Torrente John Lockhart
Marco Napoli, PhD, 1st Place Senior Trainee Laura Torrente, PhD, 2nd Place Senior Trainee John Lockhart, PhD, 3rd Place Senior Trainee
  • New Grant Award: Doug Cress, PhD received notification of an R21 award from NCI to support the project “Molecular Drivers of Lung Cancer in Hispanics” as contact MPI.
  • New Grant Award: Florian Karreth, PhD received a notice of award from the NIH for an R21 grant on assessing the role of oncogenic circRNAs in melanoma development.
  • New Trainee:  Nicol Mecozzi, PhD student in the Cancer Biology program, starts her rotation in the Karreth lab.
  • New Patent: Mark G. Alexandrow, PhD is named inventor for a Provisional Patent submission covering new chemical composition of CMG helicase inhibitor-degrader compounds (CMGidTM).

November 2021

  • New Publication: Postdoctoral fellow Xiaonan Xu, PhD, from the Karreth lab posted a preprint on bioRxiv titledChromosome 1q amplification perturbs a ceRNA network to promote melanoma metastasis.

October 2021

  • New Grant Award: Doug Cress, PhD received notification of award from M2GEN to support the project “Analysis of genetic ancestry across the ORIEN Network” as co-Investigator.
  • New Grant Award: Florian Karreth, PhD was awarded a Research Scholar Grant from the American Cancer Society to explore the role of MAFG in melanoma.
  • New Trainee: Nicole Wang and Sabrina Chowdhury, USF Master students in Medical Sciences, join the Karreth lab as volunteers.
  • New Patent: Mark G. Alexandrow, PhD is named inventor for a final PCT Patent submission #10110-266WO1. Patent covers new CMG helicase and HPV helicase inhibitors.
  • Jennifer Binning, PhD was appointed as Co-Director of the Moffitt Chemical Biology Core.

September 2021

  • New Grant Award: Tracess Smalley, PhD, a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Binning Lab, received an AIDS Malignancy Consortium Scholar Award.
  • New Publication:
  • New Trainee: Nick Spinosa, PhD student in the Cancer Biology program, starts his rotation in the Karreth lab.
  • New Trainee: Ben Posorske joins the Karreth lab as a Research Associate II.
Qian Liu, First Place Junior Trainee
Qian Liu, first place Junior Trainee
Olga Vera Puente, PhD (left) 2nd Place; Ilah Bok (right) 3rd Place Junior Trainees
From left, Olga Vera Puente, PhD, second place, and Ilah Bok, third place Junior Trainees
Hayley Ackerman, PhD 2nd Place Senior Trainee
Hayley Ackerman, PhD, second place Senior Trainee

August 2021

  • Winners of the Molecular Oncology Research in Progress series for Outstanding Presentations (January-June 2021) were announced:

    Junior Trainees:

    • 1st Place, Qian Liu (Lau lab)
    • 2nd Place, Olga Vera Puente, PhD (Karreth lab)
    • 3rd Place, Ilah Bok (Karreth lab)

    Senior Trainees:

    • 1st Place, Junhao Lu, PhD (Chen lab)
    • 2nd Place, Hayley Ackerman, PhD (Flores lab)
    • 3rd Place, Yun Pyo Kang, PhD (DeNicola lab)
  • New Grant Award: Florian Karreth, PhD received a notice of award from the NIH for an R21 grant on exploring miR-29 in melanoma progression and prevention.
  • Ana P. Gomes, PhD was named a Forbeck Scholar by the William Guy Forbeck Research Foundation.
  • New Publication: Tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte treatment for anti-PD-1-resistant metastatic lung cancer: a phase 1 trial. Creelan BC, Wang C, Teer JK, Toloza EM, Yao J, Kim S, Landin AM, Mullinax JE, Saller JJ, Saltos AN, Noyes DR, Montoya LB, Curry W, Pilon-Thomas SA, Chiappori AA, Tanvetyanon T, Kaye FJ, Thompson ZJ, Yoder SJ, Fang B, Koomen JM, Sarnaik AA, Chen DT, Conejo-Garcia JR, Haura EB, Antonia SJ. Nat Med. 2021 Aug;27(8):1410-1418. doi: 10.1038/s41591-021-01462-y. Epub 2021 Aug 12. PMID: 34385708
  • New Publication: PLoS Genetics Research Article featuring Mol Onc trainees Aziz Aiderus, Justin Y. Newberg, Ana Contreras-Sandoval, and Amanda Meshey and Mol Onc faculty Karen M. Mann and Michael B. Mann: Transposon mutagenesis identifies cooperating genetic drivers during keratinocyte transformation and cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma progression. Aiderus, Newberg JY, Guzman-Rojas L, Contreras-Sandoval AM, Meshey AL, et al., 2021, PLOS Genetics 17(8): e1009094. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1009094
  • New Trainee: Jheng-Yu Wu, PhD (Johnny) joins the Alexandrow Lab as a Postdoctoral Fellow
  • New Trainee: Yifeng Gao, PhD joins the Flores Lab as a Postdoctoral Fellow.

July 2021

  • New Grant Award: Florian Karreth, PhD received a notice of award from the Florida Department of Health for a Bankhead Coley grant to study non-canonical tumor suppressor functions of PTEN in melanoma.
  • New Publication: Xiaonan Xu, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow in the Karreth lab published a methods chapter titled "Pseudogenes as Competitive Endogenous RNAs: Testing miRNA Dependency" in Methods in Molecular Biology. PMID: 34165713
  • New Publication: Ilah Bok, Graduate Student in the Karreth lab published a methods chapter titled "Strategies to Study the Function of Pseudogenes in Mouse Models of Cancer" in Methods in Molecular Biology. PMID: 34165722
  • New Publication: Florian Karreth, PhD, published a methods chapter titled "Pseudogenes as Competitive Endogenous RNAs: Target Prediction and Validation" in Methods in Molecular Biology. PMID: 34165712
  • New Publication: Nicol Mecozzi, Research Associate in the Karreth lab published a review article titled "Squaring the circle: circRNAs in melanoma" in Oncogene. PMID: 34331015New Publication: The non-canonical target PARP16 contributes to polypharmacology of the PARP inhibitor talazoparib and its synergy with WEE1 inhibitors. Palve V, Knezevic CE, Bejan DS, Luo Y, Li X, Novakova S, Welsh EA, Fang B, Kinose F, Haura EB, Monteiro AN, Koomen JM, Cohen MS, Lawrence HR, Rix U.  Cell Chem Biol. 2021 Jul 22:S2451-9456(21)00348-2. doi: 10.1016/j.chembiol.2021.07.008. Online ahead of print. PMID: 34329582
  • New Publication: Macrophage-derived cholesterol contributes to therapeutic resistance in prostate cancer.  El-Kenawi A, Dominguez-Viqueira W, Liu M, Awasthi S, Abraham-Miranda J, Keske A, Steiner KK, Noel L, Serna AN, Dhillon J, Gillies RJ, Yu X, Koomen JM, Yamoah K, Gatenby RA, Ruffell B. Cancer Res. 2021 Jul 23:canres.4028.2020. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-20-4028. Online ahead of print. PMID: 34301759
  • New Publication: A Mutational Survey of Acral Nevi.  Smalley KSM, Teer JK, Chen YA, Wu JY, Yao J, Koomen JM, Chen WS, Rodriguez-Waitkus P, Karreth FA, Messina JL.  JAMA Dermatol. 2021 Jul 1;157(7):831-835. doi: 10.1001/jamadermatol.2021.0793.  PMID: 33978681
  • New Publication:  Global Phosphoproteomics Reveal CDK Suppression as a Vulnerability to KRas Addiction in Pancreatic Cancer. Kazi A, Chen L, Xiang S, Vangipurapu R, Yang H, Beato F, Fang B, Williams TM, Husain K, Underwood P, Fleming JB, Malafa M, Welsh EA, Koomen J, Trevino J, Sebti SM.  Clin Cancer Res. 2021 Jul 15;27(14):4012-4024. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-20-4781. Epub 2021 Apr 20. PMID: 33879459
  • New Trainee: S. Hossein Kashfi, PhD joins the Gomes Lab as a postdoctoral fellow.

June 2021

  • New Grant Award: Mark G. Alexandrow, PhD received a notice of award from the NIH for an R01 grant to study the roles of Rb and Myc in directly controlling enzymatic activity of the replicative CMG helicase. Damon Reed, MD, is a collaborator on the project.
  • Jennifer Binning, PhD, received a notice of award from the NIH for an R35 MIRA grant to study the molecular details governing deglycation and protein repair.
  • New Grant Award: Ana P. Gomes, PhD, received an Innovation Award from the American Lung Association to study age-related mechanisms of drug resistance in non-small cell lung cancer.
  • New Grant Award: Ana P. Gomes, PhD, received a Scientific Research Grant from the Florida Breast Cancer Foundation to evaluate NAD+ Kinase’s role in metastatic triple negative breast cancer.
  • New Grant Award: Ana P. Gomes, PhD, in collaboration with Gina DeNicola, PhD and Stephen Gardell, PhD (Advent Health) received a Bankhead-Coley Cancer Research Award from the State of Florida to study the role of aging and pyridine nucleotides in non-small cell lung cancers.
  • New Publication: Wright GM, Gimbrone NT, Sarcar B, Percy TR, Gordián ER, Kinose F, Sumi NJ, Rix U, Cress WD. CDK4/6 inhibition synergizes with inhibition of P21-Activated Kinases (PAKs) in lung cancer cell lines. PLoS One. 2021;16(6):e0252927. Epub 2021/06/18. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0252927. PubMed PMID: 34138895.
  • New Publication: Ana P. Gomes, PhD, co-lead a study describing how NAD+ kinase is regulated by oncogenic KRAS to sustain de novo NADP+ production in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. “NADK is activated by oncogenic signaling to sustain pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma”. Cell Rep. 2021 Jun 15;35(11):109238. PMID: 34133937
  • New Trainee: Stanislav Drapela, PhD joins the Gomes Lab as a postdoctoral fellow.

May 2021

  • New Grant Award: Florian Karreth, PhD received a notice of award from the NIH for an R01 grant focused on chromosome 1q ceRNAs in melanoma progression and metastasis.
  • New Publication: Florian Karreth, PhD, co-authored a study lead by Keiran Smalley, PhD and Jane Messina, MD describing mutations found in acral nevi. "A Mutational Survey of Acral Nevi”. JAMA Dermatol. 2021 May 12. PMID: 33978681
  • Nicol Mecozzi, Research Associate in the Karreth lab submitted a preprint to bioRxiv titled "Genetic Tools for the Stable Overexpression of Circular RNAs." doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.05.27.446018
  • Ana P. Gomes, PhD, presented at the 2020 AACR Annual Meeting at the Educational Session: Understanding Mechanisms of Aging in Cancer Development in Human Populations.
  • New Trainee: Devesh Raizada, a graduate student in the Moffitt-USF Cancer Biology Ph.D. Program, selects Ana P. Gomes, PhD, as his major professor and joins the Gomes Lab.

April 2021

  • New Publication: Olga Vera, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow in the Karreth lab published an article titled "A MAPK/miR-29 Axis Suppresses Melanoma by Targeting MAFG and MYBL2." Cancers. 2021 Mar 19. PMID: 33808771
  • Ana P. Gomes, PhD, was selected as a Rising Star of Cancer Metabolism and Signaling by the New York Academy of Sciences.
  • New Trainee: Joanne Tejero, a graduate student in the USF Molecular Medicine Ph.D. Program, selects Ana P. Gomes, PhD, as her major professor and joins the Gomes Lab.

Joseph Kissil, Vice-Chair

March 2021

  • Faculty: Joseph (Joe) Kissil, PhD joins the department as Vice-chair and Senior Member, Moffitt Distinguished Scholar, and Co-Leader of the Cancer Biology & Evolution Program. Welcome, Dr. Kissil!
  • New Grant: Elsa Flores, PhD, received notification that a P01 focused on Lung Cancer Metabolism will receive funding. Dr. Flores is the contact PI, co-Director of the Administrative Core, and Leader of Project 1. Doug Cress, PhD, and Florian Karreth, PhD, will serve a co-Directors of the Pre-Clinical Core. John Koomen, PhD, will serve as Director of the Proteomics and Metabolism Core.
  • Suman Govindaraju, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow in the K. Mann Lab, was selected for an Oral Presentation at the upcoming 2021 Moffitt Scientific Symposium.
  • New Patent: Mark G. Alexandrow, PhD is named inventor for Provisional Patent submission #63/157,268 “Helicase Inhibitors for the Treatment of Cancers”. Identified first-in-class inhibitors of HPV16/18/31 E1 helicases.
  • New Trainee: Amanda Meshey, graduate student in the Moffitt-USF Cancer Biology Ph.D. Program, selects Michael Mann, PhD, as her major professor and joins the M. Mann Lab.

February 2021

  • New Grant Award: Gary W. Reuther, PhD received a notice of award from the NIH for an R01 grant to study the role of SHP2 in JAK2 inhibitor persistence in myeloproliferative neoplasms.
  • New Publication: Gary W. Reuther, PhD co-authored work from a Moffitt team science collaboration with the labs of Nicholas Lawrence and Ernst Schönbrunn (Drug Discovery) reporting the Schönbrunn lab’s determination of the first-ever co-crystal structures of two FDA-approved JAK2 inhibitors for myeloid neoplasms, ruxolitinib and fedratinib, with the kinase domain of JAK2. “Structural Insights into JAK2 Inhibition by Ruxolitinib, Fedratinib, and Derivatives Thereof”. J Med Chem. 2021 Feb 11. PMID: 33570945.
  • New Publication: John Koomen, PhD, Proteomics & Metabolomics Scientific Director, contributed to Solanki HS, Welsh EA, Fang B, Izumi V, Darville LNF, Stone B, Franzese R, Chavan S, Kinose F, Imbody D, Koomen JM, Rix U, Haura EB. Cell-type Specific Adaptive Signaling Responses to KRASG12C inhibition. Clin Cancer Res. 2021 Feb 22:clincanres.CCR–20–3872-A.2020. Online ahead of print. PMID: 33619172.
  • New Trainee: Rahim Ullah, PhD, joins the Lixin Wan Lab as a Postdoctoral Fellow.
  • New Trainee: Oscar Ospina, PhD, was appointed to the T32 Training Program in Cancer Biology and Data Science.
  • New Publication: Ana Gomes, PhD wrote an Authors’ view piece in Molecular & Cellular Oncology: Age-induced metabolic reprogramming underlies cancer progression.
  • New Publication: Florian Karreth, PhD, co-authored a perspective on the future of animal models in melanoma research in Cancer Cell. This paper, titled "Melanoma models for the next generation of therapies", is the result of a workshop on melanoma models organized by the Melanoma Research Alliance.
  • New Trainee: Nicol Mecozzi, Research Associate in the Karreth lab, was admitted to the Moffitt/USF Cancer Biology PhD program.
  • Neel Jasani, graduate student in the Moffitt-USF Cancer Biology Ph.D. Program in the Karreth lab, won a Best Poster Award at the University of South Florida’s Health Research Day.
  • Ella Bok, graduate student in the Moffitt-USF Cancer Biology Ph.D. Program, in the Karreth lab, won a 2020 Outstanding Research Accomplishment Award from Moffitt's PhD program.

January 2021

  • New Publication: Aziz Aiderus, PhD, Post-doctoral Fellow in the M. Mann Lab, Ana M. Contreras-Sandoval, PhD, Post-doctoral Fellow in the M. Mann Lab, & Amanda Meshey, PhD Graduate Student in the M. Mann Lab, published a joint first co-authored publication in Cancers, entitled “Promoterless Transposon Mutagenesis Drives Solid Cancers via Tumor Suppressor Inactivation”. This collaborative work from senior co-authors Karen Mann, PhD and Michael Mann, PhD, Demonstrates there are oncogene independent routes to drive cancer development! This manuscript uncovers the critical role of tumor suppressor genes (both new and known) in the initiation and progression of multiple solid cancers.
  • New Trainee: Allison Bahr joined the team as a Research Associate supporting the Puerto Rico Bio-Bank. Allison is a recent University of Florida graduate who double-majored in Microbiology and Spanish.
  • New Appointment: Doug Cress, PhD, was appointed as Moffitt’s Institutional Research Integrity Officer.
  • New Appointment: Michael Mann, PhD, joins the Editorial Board of Biomolecules as a Special Topics Editor. His first project as Guest Editor is developing a multi-disciplinary Cancer Genetics issue launching later in 2021.
  • New Publication: John Koomen, PhD, Proteomics & Metabolomics Scientific Director, contributed to Stewart PA, Welsh EA, Fang B, Izumi V, Mesa T, Zhang C, Yoder S, Zhang G, Cen L, Pettersson F, Zhang Y, Chen Z, Cheng CH, Thapa R, Thompson Z, Avedon M, Wloch M, Fournier M, Fellows KM, Francis JM, Saller JJ, Boyle TA, Chen YA, Haura EB, Teer JK, Eschrich SA, Koomen JM. Managing a Large-Scale Multiomics Project: A Team Science Case Study in Proteogenomics. Methods Mol Biol. 2021;2194:187–221. PMID: 32926368