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Lab Highlights

  • Awarded a $250,000 grant by Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation for their 2018 Innovation Grant application titled “Molecular Landscape for Targeted Therapy in Retinoblastoma.” Learn more

  • Uncovered evidence that genomic aberrations in uveal melanoma that lead to metastasis may occur far earlier in tumor evolution than previously believed.
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  • Awarded a $2.5 million grant from the National Cancer Institute, a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to study predictive testing of ocular (or uveal) melanoma.
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  • Discovered that the histone deacetylase inhibitor vorinostat, clinically approved by the FDA to treat a rare form of lymphoma, may be repurposed to also treat uveal melanoma. In the laboratory, vorinostat was able to transform aggressive uveal melanoma cells into more normal-appearing cells.
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  • Discovered that mutations in the tumor suppressor gene BAP1 are responsible for metastatic death in uveal melanoma.

  • Discovered that histone deacetylase inhibitors reverse the biochemical effects of BAP1 mutation and may have a role in targeted therapy of uveal melanoma metastasis.

  • Discovered a gene expression signature that predicts metastasis in uveal melanoma. This discovery has led to a routine clinical test that is used around the world.

  • Discovered that the retinoblastoma protein is regulated by a hierarchical series of intramolecular conformational changes catalyzed by discrete phosphorylation events.

  • Discovered that mutations in the retinoblastoma gene occur in most small cell lung cancers.