14525097_10154947490263352_5069909018871925439_oPrincipal Investigator: Soledad Sosa, Ph.D. My undergraduate training consisted in the study of melanoma biology, in the laboratory of Osvaldo Podhajcer at the renowned Leloir Institute where I focused on the identification of novel melanoma signaling targets using proteomics. From this training phase I published a very complete story in Proteomics (Sosa MS, et al., Proteomics 2007). My Ph.D. training program was carried out at the University of Pennsylvania in a joint program with the University of Buenos Aires. This training was under the mentorship of Dr. Marcelo Kazanietz, a well-recognized scientist in cell signaling studies in prostate and breast cancer. During this time I focused on the study of P-Rex1, a Rac-GEF protein, and how this factor contributed to the malignancy of mammary tumor cells. We demonstrated that P-Rex1 was important for migration and tumor development of breast cancer cells (Sosa MS, et al., Mol. Cell 2010). In 2010, I joined Dr. Julio Aguirre-Ghiso laboratory and since then I have been working in understand how tumor cell dormancy was established once tumor cell disseminate to secondary organs. In this work I was able to link the orphan nuclear receptor NR2F1 to a novel function during tumor cell dormancy (Sosa Nat. Com 2015). I found that NR2F1 was required for malignant cells to undergo dormancy. This NR2F1-dependent dormancy program involved regulation of pluripotency and epigenome of disseminated tumor cells.

In 2012 I was awarded a DoD Breast Cancer Postdoctoral Grant to study the processes responsible for early dissemination and target organ colonization by breast tumor cells (Harper, Sosa MS,, Nature, 2016, Hosseini, et al., Nature 2016). In 2015 I was promoted to Assistant Professor position (Research track) in the Department of Medicine, Icahn School of medicine at Mount Sinai. In 2016, I was promoted to Assistant Professor (investigator track) in the Department of Pharmacological Sciences at Mount Sinai. In 2016, as part of a collaboration team, we received a Melanoma Research Alliance (MRA) team award to study tumor dormancy in melanoma. In 2017 I was awarded a K22-NCI-Transition Career Development Award to promote Diversity. The goal of this grant is to study the pluripotency and epigenome of disseminated tumor cells.

The Team: 

Nupura Kale, lab technician (right). She did her MS in Biology in the University of Houston (2016) and her MS in Biochemistry in the University of Mumbai, India (2014). In 2016 she joined the laboratory of Dr. Martyn Matzuk as a research assistant in the Department of Pathology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX. She joined the lab in May 2017 as a  lab manager.

Maria Jose Carlini, postdoctoral fellow (left). She received a BS degree in 2007 and a PhD in Biological Sciences in 2013 at the University of Buenos Aires under the guidance of Dr. Lydia Puricelli. Her thesis focused on analyzing the role of TGFβ1 on the progression of a murine lung adenocarcinoma. She also undertook a retrospective study with samples from non-small cell lung cancer patients to assess the clinical pathologic role and prognostic significance of several targets of the TGFβ pathway. In 2014 she started a post-doc granted by São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) in the Cancer Institute of São Paulo, Brazil working with Prof. Maria Aparecida Nagai. During that time, she performed a microarray-based comparative analysis of gene expression profiles of abnormal mammary glands in transgenic mice carrying additional A isoform of the progesterone receptor (PR-A). Her research interests lie in the area of cancer biology, in particular metastasis initiation. She has joined the lab in May 2017 and she is studying the role of pluripotency genes and epigenetic programs in disseminated tumor cell fate.

Nitisha Shrivastava, postdoctoral fellow. She received her doctoral degree in 2017 from University of Delhi and INMAS, Delhi, India in Zoology (Radiation Bioscience). She identified  two novel prophylactic and therapeutic agents for ameliorating radiation induced injury and death with potential efficacy in cell line/s, zebrafish and mice model. She worked on various aspects of radioprotector/mitigator development by re-positioning FDA approved small molecules in zebrafish.  She has also expertise in application of computational and bioinformatics tools including molecular docking, structural and functional analysis tools for proteins (targets) and small molecules studies. She also held a position as a Research Associate at CSIR-IGIB, Delhi, India, before joining this lab, where she used in silico and bioinformatics platform to develop an intricate regulatory network/pathway for iron regulation in hepatocyte. She joined the lab in December 2017 and she is screening for small molecules that could target disseminated cancer cells.

Multi-Disciplinary Training Areas:

Biophysics and Systems Pharmacology [BSP], Cancer Biology [CAB]

The lab is currently looking for Ph.D. students and postdocs to join the lab and work on exciting projects.