Two outstanding graduate students from the Louis V. Gerstner, Jr. Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSK) have been awarded federal funding to pursue promising cancer research. The awards recognize the strong potential of their innovative research proposals, which were selected from a field of applicants from across the country.
“We are proud to see our talented, hard-working students recognized on a national scale. Their success reflects the rigorous scientific training and mentorship that they receive here at GSK,” says GSK Dean Michael Overholtzer. “The awards will help support their research objectives and propel their scientific careers to the next level.”
Yuchen Xie, a fifth-year student at GSK, received a National Cancer Institute Predoctoral to Postdoctoral Fellow Transition Award. This grant supports outstanding PhD candidates as they complete their dissertation research and during their transition to a postdoctoral career focused on cancer.
Mentored by physician-scientist Emily Cheng, Ms. Xie plans to use both genetically engineered mouse models and patient-derived cell lines to study the role of SETD2, a tumor-suppressing gene that is frequently mutated in clear cell renal cell carcinoma and lung adenocarcinoma. Her work aims to shed light on the cause and development of SETD2-deficient lung and kidney cancers and provide insight into treatment strategies for people who have tumors with SETD2 mutations.
Miguel Miranda-Roman, a fourth-year student at GSK, received a Horizon Award from the Department of Defense. This award supports and challenges junior scientists to conduct impactful cancer research, under the guidance of an experienced scientist, that is relevant to military personnel, veterans, and their families.
Mentored by physician-scientist Ping Chi, Mr. Miranda-Roman will focus on malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNST), a type of soft tissue sarcoma. This cancer is rare and has limited treatment options. He plans to investigate how MPNST may be developing resistance to current targeted therapies and to study how common genetic changes found in this cancer affect its sensitivity to new treatment strategies.
“We congratulate Yuchen and Miguel on their achievements and are eager to witness the impact of their work,” says Dr. Overholtzer.