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CEWG Past Seminar Series


September 8, 2022

11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. EST

Session Theme:

Cancer and Ecology

Diverse populations of cancer cells exist within the ever-changing ecosystem of the body. Cancer cells must compete for space and resources to maintain their fitness in much the same ways as populations of organisms in any ecosystem. This session will focus on ways in which cancer cell genotypes and phenotypes impact their ecological fitness. 


Jason A. Somarelli

Jason Somarelli, PhD
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Director of Research, Duke Comparative Oncology Group, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina

Dr. Somarelli’s research investigates mechanisms of cancer therapy resistance and metastasis through the lens of comparative evolutionary and ecological paradigms. Dr. Somarelli is a member of the executive steering committee for the AACR Cancer and Evolution Working Group, an advisory board member for the Triangle Center for Evolutionary Medicine, and an advisory board member of the Exotic Species Cancer Research Alliance. He also directs the Duke Marine Lab Scholars in Marine Medicine Program and is actively involved in education and outreach to enhance diversity and equity in science.


Andriy Marusyk

“Impact of Stromal Sheltering on Eco-Evolutionary Dynamics of Acquired Resistance in Targetable Lung Cancers”

Andriy Marusyk, PhD
Associate Professor, University of South Florida; Associate Member, Department of Cancer Physiology, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, Tampa, Florida

Dr. Marusyk’s research interest is to understand eco-evolutionary aspects of cancers, i.e., how tumor cells change during progression and in response to therapies, and how this change is influenced by the environmental selection forces. His research program is focused on applying eco-evolutionary perspective toward understanding how cancers adapt to targeted and cytotoxic therapies, initially focusing on lung and breast cancers, and recently extending this focus toward sarcomas. Rather than focusing on a single aspect of evolving resistance, his team is aiming to take an unbiased view, considering combined effects of plasticity-mediated epigenetic changes, stochastic mutational mechanisms, selection pressures and modifying aspects of cell-cell and cell-environment interactions, with the ultimate goal to translate these findings towards clinical practice.

Frederick Adler

“Cancer Corruption”

Frederick R. Adler, PhD
Professor, Department of Mathematics; Director, School of Biological Sciences, College of Science, The University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah

Strategies for modeling cancer range from describing “one renegade cell” to inclusion of ecology and evolution.  Our approach emphasizes that cancer cells are still cells, and interact not only with each other but with the surrounding healthy tissue that they depend on.  Their success requires corrupting the system of signaling that maintains tissue integrity in the face of uncertainty and disturbance. I conclude with analogies to Ecological Restoration and economics to inspire alternative approaches to cancer control.

Dr. Adler has used mathematical modeling to study questions ranging from my original interests in ecology and epidemiology to include immunology and many fields of molecular and biomedical biology, with a fascination with the coordination of self-organized biological systems ranging from ant colonies to cell cellectives.  I have authored two textbooks: “Modeling the Dynamics of Life” and “Urban Ecosystems: Ecological Principles for the Built Environment.”

August 2022

Please note that the AACR Cancer Evolution Working Group Seminar Series will be taking a summer break and resume in September.

JuLY 2022

Thursday, July 7, 2022
11 a.m. – 1 p.m. EST

Sarah R. Amend, PhD, John Hopkins University

Claire Edwards, PhD, University of Oxford
Cancer Evolution: The Importance of the Bone Microenvironment

Denis Wirtz, PhD and Ashley Kiemen PhD, John Hopkins University
“Mapping the 3D Microanatomy of Tumors at Single-cell Resolution Using CODA”

June 2022

Thursday, June 2, 2022
11 a.m. – 1 p.m. EST

Perry S. Marshall, BS, Marketing Consultant and Author

Michael Levin, PhD, Tufts University
“Cancer, Cognition, and Biological Causation”

František Baluška, PhD, University of Bonn
“Concept of Sentient Eukaryotic Cell and Cognitive Evolution”

May 2022

Thursday, May 5, 2022
11 a.m. – 1 p.m. EST

Michael Gillette, MD, PhD, The Broad Institute

David Reich PhD, Harvard Medical School
“Insights into Evolutionary Analysis from the Ancient DNA Revolution”

Gad Getz, PhD, Harvard Medical School
“Convergent Evolution as a key signal for discovering mechanisms of resistance to cancer therapy”

March and April 2022

Please note that the AACR Cancer Evolution Working Group Seminar Series will be postponed during the months of March and April due to the 2022 AACR Annual Meeting in New Orleans, LA.

February 2022

Thursday, February 3, 2022
Susan Rosenberg, PhD, Baylor College of Medicine

Carlo C. Maley, PhD, Arizona State University
Daniel Jarosz, PhD, Stanford University School of Medicine
Miroslav Radman, PhD, Mediterranean Institute for Life Sciences

January 2022

Thursday, January 6, 2022
11 a.m. – 1 p.m. EST

Giulia C. Kennedy, PhD, Veracyte, Inc.

Wendy J. Fantl, PhD, Stanford University
Klaus Lindpaintner, MD, MPH, InterVenn Biosciences

December 2021

Thursday, December 2, 2021
11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m .EST

George Poste, DVM, PhD, FMedSci, FRS, Arizona State University

Alissa Weaver, MD, PhD, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
“The role of exosomes in tumor angiogenesis and metastasis”

David C. Lyden, MD, PhD, Weill Cornell Medical College
“Extracellular Vesicles as Biomarkers for Cancer Detection and Determining Cancer Type”

November 2021

Thursday, November 4, 2021
11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. EDT

Frank H. Laukien, PhD, Bruker Corporation

Doru M. Paul, MD, PhD, Cornell Medicine

Aurora M. Nedelcu, PhD, University of New Brunswick
“A Systemic View of Cancer: The Unexplored Links Between Cancer and the Organism’s Internal ‘climate'”

Gary Patti, PhD, Washington University in St. Louis
“Oncogenic Mechanisms for Co-Opting Healthy Tissue Metabolism to Drive Tumor Growth”

Susan M. Rosenberg, PhD, Baylor College of Medicine
“Looking upstream of evolution at the DNA Damageome and Cancer, and Stess-induced Mutations”

October 2021

October 7, 2021
11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. EDT

Jeff Townsend, PhD, Yale School of Public Health

Vincent Cannataro, PhD, Emmanuel College
“Attribution of Cancer Origins to Endogenous, Exogenous, and Preventable Mutational Processes”

David McCandlish, PhD, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
“Modeling High-Dimensional Cancer Fitness Landscapes”

September 2021

September 2, 2021
11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. EDT

Jason Somarelli, PhD, Duke Cancer Institute

Gábor Balázsi, PhD, Stony Brook University
“Mapping the Landscapes of Chemoresistance and Metastasis”

James DeGregori, PhD, University of Colorado Anschutz School of Medicine
“Aging, Somatic Evolution, and Cancer – the Inexorable Link”