AACR-MPM Oncology Charitable Foundation Transformative Cancer Research Grant

The AACR-MPM Oncology Charitable Foundation Transformative Cancer Research Grants support early- to mid-career investigator employing highly innovative approaches to major problems or challenges in cancer research. Funded projects are expected to have a potentially transformative impact on future clinical practice.

2019 Grantees

Liron Bar-Peled, PhD

Liron Bar-Peled, PhD

Assistant Professor
Massachusetts General Hospital
Boston, Massachusetts
Deciphering the mechanisms of ferroptosis signaling and death in cancer

Research
Induction of ferroptosis (FO), a cell death pathway mediated by oxidative stress, may be a successful therapeutic approach for the treatment of multiple forms of cancer. Although high levels of lipid peroxides can trigger FO, little is known about how lipid peroxides signal and induce FO. Dr. Bar-Peled aims to develop and employ highly innovate proteomic and metabolomic technologies to test the hypothesis that lipid peroxide modification of proteins is a mechanism for signal transduction and FO induction.

Biography
Dr. Bar-Peled received his PhD in biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. As a Damon Runyon postdoctoral fellow at the Scripps Research Institute, he focused on the response of cancer cells to oxidative stress. He is currently an assistant professor at the Center for Cancer Research at the Massachusetts General Hospital and the Department of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Acknowledgment of Support
It is a tremendous honor to be awarded this prestigious grant. We are now emboldened to undertake creative and cutting-edge research to address fundamental biochemical mechanisms by which cancer cells adapt to metabolic stress. The goal is to translate these basic discoveries into therapeutic insights for cancer patients.

Sahand Hormoz, PhD

Sahand Hormoz, PhD

Assistant Professor
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Boston, Massachusetts
Reconstructing the differentiation dynamics and genealogy of cancer cells

Research
In a subtype of blood cancers called myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN), the same mutation can result in drastically different disease phenotypes in different patients. This disconnect between genotype and phenotype is partly because the same mutation can have different consequences depending on the identity of the hematopoietic cell in which the mutation first occurs and the extent to which the population of mutated cells expands. Dr. Hormoz aims to 1) identify the disease-initiating cancer stem cell and characterize its differentiation dynamics in patients by sequencing the full transcriptome and the cancer mutations of individual cells and 2) reconstruct the genealogy of the cancer cells (and infer the history of disease progression) in patients from the pattern of accrued somatic mutations in individual cancer cells.

Biography
Dr. Hormoz obtained his PhD in applied physics at Harvard University. His postdoctoral studies were conducted jointly as a theorist at the Kavli Institute of Theoretical Physics (UCSB) and as an experimental systems and synthetic biologist at Caltech. Currently, he is an assistant professor with the Department of Data Sciences at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Department of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School.

Acknowledgement of Support
I am thrilled to be a recipient of this AACR-MPM grant and to work closely with the AACR. This award recognizes the importance of innovative research and gives my lab the freedom to tackle fundamental questions in blood cancers using creative and risky approaches that otherwise would not be possible.