AUG 30, 2017 10:00 AM PDT

WEBINAR: Understanding cell reprogramming in treatment-resistant prostate cancer using organoids

  • Research Affiliate, Postdoctoral, Roswell Park Cancer Institute
      "I completed both a Bachelors in Sciences in Molecular Genetics and a Bachelors in Arts in English with a concentration in Theater at the University of Rochester in 2009, graduating Magna Cum Laude with election to Phi Beta Kappa. I then immediately began my PhD graduate training in Pathology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, defending my dissertation in 2014, in less than 5 years.

      I published 7 manuscripts based on my dissertation work, 4 of which are first-author, on the ubiquitin proteasome system in cardiac and skeletal muscle diseases. Specifically, my work focused on muscle atrophy-associated ubiquitin ligases that regulate nuclear receptor transcription factors in cardiac hypertrophy. My dissertation work was funded by a Predoctoral grant awarded to me by the American Heart Association. In addition, I have given several oral presentations at national meetings on this topic, for which I received trainee travel grants from both the American Society for Investigative Pathology and American Physiological Society.

      I came to Roswell Park Cancer Institute in January 2015, joining the laboratory of Dr. Shahriar Koochekpour to study the mechanisms governing castration-recurrent prostate cancer. Recently, I have published three comprehensive review articles on treatment of advanced prostate cancer and therapy resistance and a research article on how the FDA-approved drug for ALS , riluzole, has anti-tumor effects in prostate cancer. In September 2016, I joined the laboratory of Dr. David Goodrich to study the mechanisms driving neuroendocrine prostate cancer. I presented my current work as a podium presentation at the 2018 Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research.

      Being a first-generation student, I am dedicated to community outreach. Especially in teaching young students with similar backgrounds about opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM)."


    DATE: August 30, 2017
    TIME: 10:00am PT, 1:00pm ET

    Recent studies show that cancer cells can resist treatment by changing into a different cell type. Many treatments for specific cancers, such as breast, prostate, or lung, target vital pathways active in healthy tissue. The reliance of cancer cells on these pathways suggest that they retain properties of healthy cells. A prominent example of targeted treatment is androgen deprivation therapy for advanced prostate cancer. This therapy limits the production and effectiveness of androgen hormones because prostate cancer cells depend on androgen hormones, just like their healthy counterparts. Prostate cancers that become resistant to multiple rounds of therapy often no longer express the target of therapy. These resistant or ‘reprogrammed’ tumor cells are more likely to express different cell lineage markers. These markers are expressed by neuroendocrine cells, a rare cell type in healthy and untreated cancerous prostate tissue. Once prostate cancer cells are reprogrammed, current therapies are ineffective and patients quickly succumb to their disease. Our laboratory studies reprogramming in prostate cancer cells with the aim of developing new drugs to treat these resistant patients. We use murine models and 3D organoid culture of murine and human tumors to understand how prostate cancer cells acquire the ability to reprogram and become resistant. Organoid culture is a valuable tool in our research because it allows the formation of structures that include multiple cell types. In the future, we will use organoids of aggressive prostate cancer in screens of drug candidates and assess drug effectiveness in weeks, rather than the months or years required for classic in vivo studies. 

    Learning Objectives:

    • Understand the benefits of 3D organoid culture on modeling cancer
    • Learn about prostate cancer cell reprogramming and how the understanding of this can lead to improved therapies

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