School of Medicine
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Lindhard Family Professor of Pediatric Cancer Biology
BioOur laboratory focuses on investigating molecular mechanisms of oncogene-induced tumorigenesis and tumor suppressor pathways, and oncogenic signaling in the pediatric solid tumor rhabdomyosarcoma. Our earlier work identified the tumor suppressors p53 and p18Ink4c as inhibitors of Cyclin D1-driven tumorigenesis in a pineoblastoma model, through senescence induction, and highlighted distinct roles for the the RB and p53 pathways in induction and maintenance of oncogene-induced senescence. We also identified CDK2 as a potential target for inducing senescence in premalignant lesions to inhibit tumor progression.
Our current focus is on studying oncogenic signaling and tumor suppression in the childhood tumor rhabdomyosarcoma, to identify key mediators of invasion and metastasis, which is the most common cause of treatment failure clinically. We use preclinical in vitro and in vivo models, including murine and human cell lines, and mouse models of disease.
We have recently uncovered a paracrine role for rhabdomyosarcoma-secreted exosomes in impacting biology of stromal cells. Rhabdomyosarcoma-derived exosomes carry specific miRNA cargo that imparts an invasive and migratory phenotype on normal recipient fibroblasts, and proteomic analysis revealed specific and unique pathways relevant to the two different molecular rhabdomyosarcoma subtypes that are driven by distinct oncogenic pathways. We identified that the driver oncogene in fusion-positive rhabdomyosarcoma, PAX3-FOXO1, modulates exosome cargo to promote invasion, migration, and angiogenic properties, and identified specific microRNA and protein cargo acting as effectors of PAX3-FOXO1 exosome-mediated signaling, including modulation of oxidative stress response and cell survival signaling.
Our ongoing work is focused on interrogating specific paracrine signaling pathways and molecular mechanisms of metastatic disease progression in rhabdomyosarcoma, for potential therapeutic targeting.
Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences (General Psychiatry and Psychology-Adult)
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsPrimary research interests include the nature and treatment of eating disorders
(particularly bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder), the development and treatment of obesity, and the development and treatment of problematic eating patterns in patients following bariatric surgery.
Elaine and John Chambers Professor of Pediatric Cancer and Professor of Genetics
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsWe investigate the mechanisms by which normal cells become tumor cells, and we combine genetics, genomics, and proteomics approaches to investigate the differences between the proliferative response in response to injury and the hyperproliferative phenotype of cancer cells and to identify novel therapeutic targets in cancer cells.
Assistant Professor (Research) of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences (Interdisciplinary Brain Science Research)
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsWe are a computational neuropsychiatry lab dedicated to developing computational methods to better understand brain’s overall dynamical organization in healthy and patient populations. We employ algorithms from a wide range of fields, including Applied Mathematics, Econometrics, Machine Learning, Biophysics, and Network Science.
Kathleen M. Sakamoto
Shelagh Galligan Professor in the School of Medicine
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsMy research focuses on the molecular pathways that regulate normal and aberrant blood cell development, including acute leukemia and bone marrow failure syndromes. We are also studying novel drugs for treatment of cancer.
Lee M. Sanders, MD, MPH
Professor of Pediatrics (General Pediatrics), of Health Policy and, by courtesy, of Epidemiology and Population Health
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsI conduct interdisciplinary research to understand literacy as potentially modifiable lens for addressing maternal and child health disparities from birth through early adulthood. Applying mixed methods approaches (health-services, epidemiology, ethnography), I have been principal investigator on extramurally-funded research projects (NIH, PCORI, FDA) that aim to examine "natural experiments" in policy and/or to design, implement and test novel system-level interventions.
Meera N. Sankar
Clinical Professor, Pediatrics - Neonatal and Developmental Medicine
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsPDA in premature infants
Transcutaneous bilirubin use in the NICU Setting
Peter L. Santa Maria, MBBS, PhD
Associate Professor of Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery (OHNS) and, by courtesy, of BioengineeringOn Partial Leave from 08/01/2023 To 07/14/2024
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsWe study chronic suppurative otitis media, a chronic biofilm infection of the middle ear predominantly involving pseudomonas and staph aureus. We are investigating mechanisms of sensory hearing loss, host microbe interactions and trialling novel therapeutics.
Our work in tympanic membrane regeneration has entered clinical trials.
Novel treatments for wound healing in intra oral wounds with potential applications to prevent post tonsillectomy wound healing and oral mucositis.