AACR-Ocular Melanoma Foundation Career Development Award

The AACR-Ocular Melanoma Foundation Career Development Award represents a joint effort to encourage and support junior faculty to conduct ocular/uveal melanoma research and establish a successful career path in ophthalmology, ocular oncology, uveal melanoma biology, or a similar field.

2022 grantee

Shaheer Khan, DO

Shaheer Khan, DO

Assistant Professor

The Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York

New York, New York

A Phase I/II Study of BET and MEK inhibition in Advanced Uveal Melanoma


Uveal melanoma is a rare melanoma subtype associated with poor outcomes in the metastatic setting. Virtually all cases harbor activating mutations of GNAQ, GNA11, PLCB4 or CYSLTR2 which result in activation of the MAP kinase pathway, amongst others. In addition, epigenetic dysregulation is known to play a critical role in disease pathogenesis. Based on preclinical data showing that the combination of MEK inhibition and Bromodomain and Extra-terminal (BET) protein inhibition (an epigenetic regulator) is associated with synergistic anti-tumor activity, Dr. Khan will investigate the safety and efficacy of combined BET and MEK inhibition in a multi-center phase I/II clinical trial in patients with metastatic uveal melanoma.  Translational components of this study will assess potential mechanisms of treatment response and resistance using tumor and blood samples from patients. 


 Dr. Khan received his medical degree from the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine, after which he completed his training in internal medicine at Medstar Georgetown University Hospital and hematology and medical oncology at Columbia University Medical Center. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Columbia University Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center. His research is focused on the development of novel therapies for the treatment of cutaneous malignancies, including cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma and uveal melanoma.

Acknowledgment of Support

It is a tremendous honor to be the recipient of the 2022 AACR-Ocular Melanoma Foundation Career Development Award, in honor of Robert C. Allen, MD. This award will be critical as I develop my research career and will be an important resource to facilitate the conduct and analysis of this promising clinical trial.