2017

Human Biology Division

2017

Dr. Taran Gujral

The American Lung Association awarded Dr. Taran Gujral a $200,000 research grant. Dr. Gujral focuses on diagnosing gene mutations in cancer patients to inform effective treatment plans. He plans to use the two year grant to develop more precise, individualized treatment options for lung cancer. Read more

Nearly all cervical cancers are caused by high-risk alpha-papillomavirus (αHPV) infections. The tumors become highly unstable as they progress and it is thought that the instability is caused by two HPV oncogenes that disrupt DNA repair. The mechanism by which these oncogenes accomplish this is still unknown. Dr. Nick Wallace from the Galloway Lab and colleagues demonstrated multiple mechanisms by which these oncogenes disrupt DNA repair. Read more

Dr. Adam Geballe

Dr. Adam Geballe has been named a fellow for the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Fellows are elected by their peers for their scientifically or social distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. Read more

Dr. Denise Galloway

Dr. Denise Galloway was awarded one of the National Cancer Institute’s 2017 Outstanding Investigators Awards. This award recognizes scientific leaders who are making significant advances in research. Galloway is also the first scientist from Fred Hutch to receive this award. Read more >

Dr. Nina Salama

Helicobacter pylori (H.pylori) is a common bacterium that causes an infection in the stomach and in some cases can lead to ulcers and cancer. The Salama Lab has identified a second factor that contributes to the inflammatory response after the body has detected an infection. Read more >

Simon Lab

Hearing loss is an irreversible side effect of treatment with a subset of antibiotics called aminoglycoside antibiotics (AGAs). There currently aren’t any FDA approved agents to protect from any type of hearing loss. Dr. Julian Simon and collaborators from the University of Washington evaluated and optimized candidates for an orally-active compound to protect against AGA-induced hearing loss. Read more

Dr. Denise Galloway will be the Director of the Pathogen-Associated Malignancies Integrated Research Center. The goal is to bring together Hutch experts to better understand, treat and prevent cancers linked to infectious agents. Read more

Daphne Avgousti, PhD

We will be welcoming our newest junior faculty member, Dr. Daphne Avgousti, later this year. Dr. Avgousti’s lab will focus on the mechanisms by which viruses hijack chromatin. Her goal is to advance the basic understanding of viral manipulation of chromatin and uncover new aspects of chromatin biology.

Paddison study

Dr. Patrick Paddison and collaborators at Mount Sinai Medical School propose that the sensitivity of GBM tumor cells to inhibition of BUB1B, a molecule involved in the checkpoint before cell division, may be an effective predictive marker of tumor aggressiveness and responsiveness to specific treatments. Read more

Raquel Sanchez

Congratulations to our Senior Operations Director, Raquel Sanchez, for being awarded one of Puget Sound Business Journal's 40 under 40. Read more

Clurman Lab graphic

The Clurman Lab is interested in transitions into and out of the DNA replication stage of the cell cycle, S-phase. Ryan Davis, a graduate student in the Clurman Lab, found that the phosphatase PP2A-B56 plays a part in prolonging the lifetime of the S-phase associated Cyclin E. This study has uncovered new aspects of the Cyclin E regulation by this phosphatase and implicated it as a possible oncogene. Read more

Dr. Slobodan Beronja

Dr. Slobodan Beronja and colleagues from Yale University demonstrated that healthy skin cells have the ability to fight off the cancerous tendencies of nearby cells. When skin cells containing oncogenic mutations begin forming disordered growths, neighboring normal skin cells surround the deformed tissue and either push out the growths or convert them into functional skin structures. Read more >

Dr. Michael Emerman

The scientific journal Retrovirology has awarded Dr. Michael Emerman the 2017 KT Jeang Retrovirology award. This award is given annually to scientists who have made outstanding contributions to the field of retrovirology. Read more

Dr. Taran Gujral

Dr. Taran Gujral published a paper in PNAS discussing the chemo-sensitivity in pancreatic cancer. A careful examination of pancreatic cancer cell-lines and FDA approced chemotherapies revealed that cell-cell contact stimulates  both drug efflux and metabolic pathways that may cause chemotherapies to be ineffective, suggesting that Hippo inhibition may be effective in cominatorial therapy. Read more

Mutations in the gene mesenchymal-epithelial transition (MET) near the exon 14 splice sites are recurrent in lung adenocarcinoma and cause exon skipping (METΔ14). A study done by the Berger Lab analyzed 12 different malginancies to estimate the rate of exon skipping. Their findings support genomically selected clinical trials directed towards METΔ14 in a fraction of NSCLC patients, confirm second-site mutations for further therapeutic targeting prior to and beyond acquired resistance, and provide an in vivo system for the study of METΔ14 in an immunocompetent host.  Read more

Dr. Harlan Robins and colleagues in the Public Health Sciences and Human Biology Divisions were able to develop a statistical classification framework that can “read” the immunoloigcal histories to decipher what pathogens and agents the person has been exposed to. This ability can diagnose their cytomegalovirus status. Read more

The MacPherson Lab has created models of small cell lung cancer and has shown that Histone methyltransferase is recurrently mutated in them. They are working to understand the unique immunological responses in this particular tumor. Read more

The Paddison Lab has been performing high throughput screens in order to detect genes that regulate the stem cell character of glioma cells, published in Nature, Oncotarget and Cell Systems this year. Read more

Dr. Jason Bielas discovered that unlike cellular mitchochondrial DNA, which erupts with mutations within tumor tissue, mitochondrial DNA in cancer cells actually has fewer mutations as compared to normal cells. He was selected to for a $100,000 grant that gave him enough funding to substantiate a grant proposal for $2.2M and would allow him to test whether cancer therapies directed at mitchodniral DNA could shift the energy production back toward mitochondria and promote the death of cancer cells. Read more

The Simon Lab is developing small molecule agents as potential drug leads for the treatment of B-cell lymphoma and in a separate project, as protective agents against drug-induced hearing loss. The hearing protection compounds are advancing through pre-clinical characterization and may enter human trials as early as mid-2018.  Hearing loss is a major side effect of cancer chemotherapy with cisplatin and antibacterial therapy with aminoglycoside antibiotics.  Reducing the side effects of  these effective drugs may lead to better overall outcomes for patients.

The Tapscott Lab found that human DUX4 expressed in mouse cells maintained modest activation of cleavage-stage genes driven by conventional promoters but did not activate MERVL-promoted genes. These findings provide insight into how sepcies balance conservation of a core transcriptional program with innovation at retrotransposon promoters, and establish a basis for animal models recreating the FSHD transcriptome. 

The Kugel Lab is using a CRISPR/Cas9 technology and genetically engineered mouse models to uncover novel mechanisms of epigenetic dysregulation in pancreatic cancer. Along these lines, they have recently developed a highly metastatic murine model of pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor that they will use to identify new mechanisms governing progression and metastatic spread in this disease.