Category: Spotlight

Andrieu and Denis paper featured as Editor’s Pick/Cover Story in April 2018 Issue of Molecular Cancer Research

April 13th, 2018 in Recent News, Spotlight

A paper by Boston University investigators, Guillaume Andrieu, Ph.D. and Gerald V. Denis, Ph.D., has been selected as the Cover Story and Editor’s Pick for Rapid Impact in the April 2018 Issue of Molecular Cancer Research. BET Proteins Exhibit Transcriptional Function Opposition in the Epithelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition reports on research carried out on inhibitors of the BET bromodomain proteins, comprised of BRD2, BRD3 and BRD4, that may work well to block growth in diverse cancer types and seems to be less toxic than traditional chemotherapies. However, these three proteins don’t always work together.

In this study, Andrieu and Denis demonstrated that sometimes individual BET bromodomain proteins oppose each other. Any of the pan-BET inhibitors currently available block all three and could have unexpected side effects. To avoid the dangerous side effects, it is urgent to develop new strategies to specifically target the proteins individually.

Cancer clinical trials using BET inhibitors are currently recruiting for leukemias, lymphoma, multiple myeloma, metastatic prostate cancer, lung cancer, glioblastoma and subtypes of breast cancer, including triple negative breast cancer. Andrieu’s and Denis’ findings are urgently relevant to all of these clinical trials because of the fundamental mechanisms that they explored are shared across many cancer types.

Dr. Andrieu is a postdoctoral research associate conducting investigations into breast cancer and its interactions with the microenvironment— the tissues surrounding the tumor. Dr. Denis is Associate Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology, whose research focuses on the fundamental mechanisms of transcriptional control of growth and development.

This study was supported by grants from the Cancer Systems Biology Consortium of the National Cancer Institute.

Dr. Zhen Jiang’s New C2 Domain Discovery in April Molecular and Cell Biology’s “Selected as Article of Significant Interest . . . by the Editors”

April 5th, 2018 in Faculty Spotlight

Zhen Y. Jiang, M.D., Ph.D., and his research group, have discovered a new C2 domain containing phosphoprotein CDP138 that is important for membrane trafficking. Membrane Trafficking Protein CDP138 Regulates Fat Browning and Insulin Sensitivity through Controlling Catecholamine Release in the April 2018 edition of Molecular and Cellular Biology and featured in Articles of Significant Interest Selected from This Issue by the Editors. Dr. Zhen and his group generated the first CDP138 knockout mice and revealed that CDP138 deficient mice are prone to develop obesity and insulin resistance. They discovered that CDP138 is a factor involved in the regulation of fat browning, energy metabolism, and insulin sensitivity through controlling sympathetic nervous function and the transmission of adrenergic signals. Per the editors’ comment, “These findings provide the first evidence that CDP138 affects energy balance and insulin sensitivity through the transmission of adrenergic signals.”

Dr. Jiang, is Associate Professor of Pharmacology and Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Nutrition, at Boston University School of Medicine, and a member of the Whitaker Cardiovascular Institute at Boston University. He is the Director of the Laboratory of Diabetes and Obesity Research.

Congratulations to Dr. Jiang and his group on this important discovery.

Marc Vittoria Receives NCI F30 Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA Award

April 2nd, 2018 in Student Spotlight

Marc Vittoria, M.D./Ph.D. Graduate Student in the Program in Biomolecular Pharmacology, has been awarded an F30 Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award from the National Cancer Institute. Marc’s thesis research, “Defining Novel Mechanisms of Genome Instability in BRAF-mutant Melanoma,” is being carried out in the Laboratory of Cancer Cell Biology under the mentorship of Neil J. Ganem, Ph.D., Assistant Professor. The F30 award is the M.D./Ph.D. equivalent of the F31 Award for Ph.D. graduate students. It will provide funding support for Marc’s research for 5 years.

Congratulations, Marc, on a job well done!

 

Alissa Frame and Franco Puleo Receive 2018 Caroline tum Suden/Francis A. Hellebrandt Professional Opportunity Award

March 20th, 2018 in Student Spotlight

Alissa Framephoto Alissa Frame and Franco Puleo, Program in Biomolecular Pharmacology Ph.D. graduate students are recipients of 2018 Caroline tum Suden/Francis A. Hellebrandt Professional Opportunity Awards by The American Physiological Society.  They will formally receive their awards at the 2018 Experimental Biology Annual Meeting in San Diego in late April.

Alissa and Franco are conducting the Ph.D. thesis research in the Laboratory for Cardiovascular-Renal Research in Department of Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics and the Whitaker Cardiovascular Institute, under the mentorship of Richard D. Wainford, Ph.D.

Congratulations on your awards, Alissa and Franco!

 

 

Kevin Clayton Awarded F31 NRSA from the National Institute on Aging

March 20th, 2018 in Student Spotlight

Kevin Clayton has been awarded an F31 Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award from the National Institute on Aging. The title of his Ph.D. thesis research is “TREM12-TYROBP coupling modulation for the reduction of Alzheimer’s-mediated neuroinflammation: a novel pharmacologic therapy.” Kevin, a Program in Biomolecular Pharmacology Ph.D. graduate student, is conducting his thesis research in the Laboratory of Molecular NeuroTherapeutics under the mentorship of Tsuneya Ikezu, M.D./Ph.D., Professor of Pharmacology and Neurology.

Congratulations, Kevin!

Dr. Tsuneya Ikezu named 2018 Jack Spivack Excellence in Neurosciences Award Recipient

February 27th, 2018 in Faculty Spotlight

Tsuneya Ikezu, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Pharmacology and Neurology, has been named as one of the four 2018 Spivack Scholars and one of the two recipients of the 2018 Jack Spivack Excellence in Neuroscience Award at Boston University School of Medicine. Dr. Ikezu, Director of the Laboratory of Molecular NeuroTherapeutics in the Department of Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics, has been recognized for his outstanding contributions to neuroscience research into neurodegenerative diseases, most especially for his groundbreaking studies on Alzheimer’s disease.

Congratulations, Dr. Ikezu!

Brandon Maziuk Awarded NINDS F31 NRSA

February 7th, 2018 in Student Spotlight

Congratulations to Brandon Maziuk on receiving a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). Brandon is a PhD graduate student in the NIGMS supported Biomolecular Pharmacology Training Program. His F31 application is titled “Dysfunction of mRNA Metabolism in Tauopathy,” and this award will support this research over the next three years.  Brandon is carrying out his dissertation research in the Laboratory of Neurodegeneration under the mentorship and direction of Benjamin Wolozin, M.D./Ph.D., Professor of Pharmacology and Neurology and an expert on neurological disease.

Well done, Brandon!

Dr. Pietro Cottone Speaks at The Royal Society’s “Of Mice and Mental Health: Facilitating Dialogue Between Basic and Clinical Neuroscientists”

June 21st, 2017 in Faculty Spotlight

Pietro Cottone, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Pharmacology and Psychiatry, made a presentation on the “Neurobiology of Compulsive Eating” at The Royal Society’s “Of Mice and Mental Health: Facilitating Dialogue Between Basic and Clinical Neuroscientists” in London on April 24-25, 2017. Based upon his current research, Dr. Cottone and his research group in the Laboratory of Addictive Disorders tested the hypothesis that “one of the underlying mechanisms of compulsive eating involves the negative reinforcing properties palatable food . . .”  According to their studies, rats who were deprived of regular access to highly palatable food demonstrated “spontaneous emotional signs of palatable food withdrawal, including anxiety- and depressive-like behavior,”  that was “accompanied by increased corticotropin-releasing factor expression (CRF),” and that “administration of a selective CRF1 receptor antagonist . . . was able to block both the overeating . . . and negative emotional state.” These results are important in ultimately discovering novel therapeutics to combat compulsive eating.  The manuscript with details of this research will be published in The Royal Society’s journal, “Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.”

 

Ryan Quinton Receives Predoctoral Fellowship from the Canadian Institutes of Health

May 26th, 2017 in Student Spotlight

Congratulations to Ryan Quinton on receiving a predoctoral Fellowship from the Canadian Institutes of Health. This award is the equivalent of an F30 predoctoral fellowship in the United States and will provide $35,000 per year for three years to cover his expenses.

Ryan is an MD/PhD currently pursuing his PhD graduate research in the Laboratory of Cancer Biology under the mentorship of Neil J. Ganem, Ph.D. Ryan joined the BU NIGMS sponsored Biomolecular Pharmacology training program in fall 2015. His research focuses on identifying YAP/TAZ dependence and synthetic lethality across cohort of breast cancer cell lines.

Kudos, Ryan!

Kendra Kobrin and Jonathan Freedman Receive the 2017 Joseph Cochin Award in Pharmacology and Medical Ethics Award

March 17th, 2017 in Student Spotlight

At the Student Award Ceremony on Match Day, March 17th, Kendra Kobrin and Jonathan Freedman were awarded the 2017 Joseph Cochin Award in Pharmacology and Medical Ethics. This award honors the memory of Joseph Cochin, MD, PhD, who served as Professor of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics at BUSM for many years. Dr. Cochin was an internationally recognized expert on opioid analgesia, pain control and medical ethics.

Kendra Kobrin
Kendra, a student in the Biomolecular Pharmacology Training Program from 2011-2015, received this award in recognition of her high achievement in pharmacology and accomplishments in research under the mentorship of Gary B. Kaplan, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry and Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics.

 

Jonathan Freedman
Jonathan Freedman, also a student in the Biomolecular Pharmacology Training Program from 2011-2015, was rewarded for his high achievement in pharmacology and research accomplishments under the mentorship of Mark W. Grinstaff, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Translational Research, Biomedical Engineering, Chemistry, Materials Science and Engineering, and Medicine.

 

Kendra and Jonathan will receive their MD and PhD degrees at the BUSM May Graduation Ceremony.

Congratulations to Kendra and Jonathan!