The Bosarge Family Foundation-Waun Ki Hong Scholar Award for Regenerative Cancer Medicine

The Bosarge Family Foundation-Waun Ki Hong Scholar Award for Regenerative Cancer Medicine represents a joint effort to encourage and support postdoctoral or clinical research fellows to conduct highly novel and provocative research in the field of regenerative cancer medicine and to establish a successful career path in this field. Funded research is directly related to the enhancement of the physiology of cancer survivors.

2021 Grantee

Jessica E.S. Shay, MD, PhD

Jessica E.S. Shay, MD, PhD

Research Fellow 
Massachusetts General Hospital 
Boston, Massachusetts 
Leveraging ketone bodies for intestinal repair after cancer therapy

Due to continuous regeneration every five to seven days, the gastrointestinal tract is susceptible to the cytotoxic/static effects of nearly all cancer therapies. Although advances have been made, cancer therapies continue to result in intestinal epithelial injury and mucositis, thereby limiting effectiveness through dose reduction and impairing patient quality of life. The mechanisms by which host nutritional state influences intestinal regeneration remain incompletely characterized. Previous work has demonstrated that fasting has a profound impact on intestinal stem cell function in young and aged mice and can improve the age-associated decline in tissue regeneration, in part through the production of ketone bodies. Dr. Shay seeks to mechanistically delineate the signaling and energetic roles of ketone body metabolites to enhance therapeutic options for intestinal regeneration.

Dr. Shay pursued her MD/PhD at the University of Pennsylvania, where she investigated the hypoxic response to inflammation and tumor progression in models of colitis-associated colon cancer. After completing her training in internal medicine at Johns Hopkins Hospital, she pursued a research-oriented gastroenterology fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital. She is currently investigating the influence of host nutrient-derived metabolites on intestinal stem cell function at the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT.

Acknowledgment of Support
The Bosarge Family Foundation-Waun Ki Hong Scholar Award for Regenerative Cancer Medicine provides me protected time to pursue important research investigating the influence of host nutrient-derived metabolites on the regenerative capacity of intestinal stem cells that will lay the groundwork for a research-oriented career as a physician-scientist.

2019 Grantee

Alfredo Oliveros, PhD

Alfredo Oliveros, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow
Mayo Clinic
Rochester, Minnesota
Caffeine as a novel Adora2a regenerative strategy for treating chemobrain

Cisplatin chemotherapy, although efficacious in cancer treatment, potentiates off-target cognitive dysfunction, known as chemobrain. RNA-sequencing of hippocampal tissue derived from cisplatin-treated mice revealed upregulation of the adenosine A2A receptor (Adora2a). Dr. Oliveros hypothesizes that Adora2a inhibition can prevent chemobrain. He is set to use a DREADDs (designer receptors exclusively activated by designer drugs) approach to inhibit Adora2a-expressing neurons. In addition, he is set to determine whether caffeine, an Adora2a antagonist, can attenuate cisplatin-induced chemobrain.

Dr. Oliveros obtained his PhD in Biomedical Sciences at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine. His post-doctoral investigations at Mayo Clinic focus on how chemotherapy-induced cognitive dysfunction affects the regenerative neurobiology of cancer survivors.

Acknowledgement of Support
Throughout my scientific career, I have endeavored to study how neurological disease detrimentally affects human behavior. Receipt of this generous award will allow me to successfully bridge the disciplines of cancer-biology and neurobiology to foster novel discoveries to benefit cancer survivors, while paving the way toward becoming an independent scientist.