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Scientist on Tablet

2022 - 2023 GRANT AWARDEES


Katelyn T. Byrne, Ph.D




Behnam Nabet, Ph.D

  • Know more about David T. Ting, MD"
    Project: Role of Satellite Repeat RNAs on Pancreatic Cancer Immune Response David T. Ting, a physician scientist, cancer biologist, and bioengineer, is currently Associate Clinical Director for Innovation and a gastrointestinal oncologist at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Cancer Center. He is currently an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Ting’s lab works on understanding RNA expression patterns in cancer to gain biological insight into cancer progression, identify biomarkers for early detection, and to develop new therapeutic avenues against cancer. His group uses an innovative microfluidic device to capture rare circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in the blood of cancer patients and combines this with next generation RNA-sequencing as a “liquid biopsy” for blood based early detection biomarkers and to understand the molecular underpinnings of cancer metastasis. In addition, his group has discovered a new class of non-coding RNAs that appear important for the cancer immune response that they are now developing as a novel cancer therapeutic. Dr. Ting received his B.S. in chemical engineering and biology from MIT in 1999, and he completed his medical degree at Harvard Medical School from the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology program withmagna cum laudehonors in 2004. During his undergraduate and medical school studies, he trained with Dr. Robert Langer at MIT on drug delivery platforms and did a Howard Hughes Medical Institute fellowship at the Whitehead Institute at MIT working on stem cell biology with Dr. George Daley, current Dean of Harvard Medical School. He completed internal medicine residency at the MGH and medical oncology fellowship in the combined Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and MGH Cancer Center program. He moved on to post-doctoral training with Daniel Haber’s group at the MGH Cancer Center working on CTCs and novel RNA biomarkers in cancer. In addition to his passion for being at the interface of science, technology, and medicine, David is also an avid Pittsburgh Steelers fan. His wife is a pediatric oncologist and they have four wonderful children. ​ Website
  • Know more about Gregory L. Beatty, MD PhD"
    Project: T Cell Fitness as a Target for Overcoming Treatment Resistance in Pancreatic Cancer Gregory Beatty, MD, PhD is Assistant Professor and Director of Translational Research of the Pancreatic Cancer Research Center at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Beatty trained at Bucknell University (BS, Chemical Engineering, 1995) and the University of Pennsylvania (Immunology, PhD, 2000; MD, 2004; Residency 2004-2006; Medical Oncology Fellow, 2006-2010). In 2012, he joined the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania. He directs a discovery laboratory that incorporates both basic science research and clinical investigation. The mission of Dr. Beatty’s research is to define mechanisms of resistance and response to cancer immunotherapy for informing effective strategies to condition tumors and patients for enhanced therapeutic responsiveness. His basic science has revealed that the inflammatory reaction to cancer that is commonly supportive of cancer growth can be redirected with anti-cancer properties using immune agonists. His research has also shown that cancer inflammation is a barrier to standard of cancer cytotoxic therapies and is therefore, a therapeutic target for improving clinical outcomes. In the clinic, Dr. Beatty has led first-in-human clinical trials investigating CAR T cells for the treatment of pancreatic cancer. He has also led studies investigating strategies to target cancer inflammation, including CD40 agonists and inhibitors of IDO and JAK. ​ Website
  • Know more about Laura D. Wood, MD PhD"
    Project: Characterization of the Molecular Events Driving Vascular Invasion in Pancreatic Cancer ​​ Laura D. Wood, MD, PhD is an Associate Professor and Director of the Division of Gastrointestinal and Liver Pathology in the Department of Pathology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. Wood received her BS in Biology from the College of William & Mary, graduating Summa Cum Laude with membership in Phi Beta Kappa. She then went on to earn both her MD and PhD from The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, with membership in Alpha Omega Alpha. She completed her PhD research in the laboratory of Dr. Bert Vogelstein, where she led the first whole exome sequencing studies in human cancers. Dr. Wood then went on to complete residency in Anatomic Pathology (serving as Chief Resident in her final year) and fellowship in Gastrointestinal and Liver Pathology at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. Now, she leads her own translational research laboratory focused on molecular characterization of pancreatic neoplasms. Her laboratory leverages next generation sequencing to characterize genetic heterogeneity and clonal evolution in precancerous pancreatic lesions. In addition, her group employs three-dimensional organoid culture models to interrogate the molecular drivers of pancreatic cancer invasion, and they are developing tools to transform human pancreatic pathology from two to three dimensions. In addition to her research program, Dr. Wood signs out clinical specimens on the Gastrointestinal Pathology service. ​ Website
  • Know more about Florencia McAllister, MD"
    Project: Assessing spatial configuration and function of bacteria in pancreatic cancer and metastasis ​ Florencia McAllister, MD is an Associate Professor in the Department of Clinical Cancer Prevention and Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Dr McAllister received her medical degree from University of Rosario in Argentina. She then moved to the US and pursued a postdoctoral fellowship with Jay Kolls in Basic Immunology at LSU and the University of Pittsburgh. She then joined the Internal Medicine Program at the University of Pittsburgh followed by Medical Oncology and Clinical Pharmacology Fellowships at Johns Hopkins University. Following her subspecialty clinical training she joined the lab of Steven Leach to study the role of inflammatory cells from the tumor microenvironment in murine transgenic models of pancreatic cancer with co-mentorship of Drew Pardoll. She started her own lab at MD Anderson in 2014 where she continued studying the tumor microenvironment and focused on the role of microbes shaping immune responses in cancer development, progression and therapies. ​ Website
  • Know more about Katelyn T. Byrne, PhD
    Katelyn T. Byrne, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in Cell, Developmental and Cancer Biology and a member of the Brenden-Colson Center for Pancreatic Care at Oregon Health and Science University. Prior to joining the faculty at OHSU, Dr. Byrne was a Senior Parker Fellow and an Instructor of Medicine in the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at the University of Pennsylvania where she trained with Dr. Robert Vonderheide, and she received her doctorate from Dartmouth College, where she trained with Dr. Mary Jo Turk. Dr. Byrne’s research program utilizes a genetically engineered mouse model of pancreatic cancer to investigate the immunobiology of the tumor microenvironment with the goal of identifying novel targets to activate and enhance immune responses against cancer. Translational findings from Dr. Byrne’s preclinical models have led to multiple trials using immune agonists in patients with pancreatic cancer, and observations from these patients directly impact ongoing efforts in the Byrne lab, including current investigations in to CD4 T cell mediated tumor rejection of pancreatic cancer.
  • Know more about Behnam Nabet, PhD
    Behnam Nabet, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Human Biology Division at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center. He received his Ph.D. in Cancer Biology from Northwestern University and B.A. in Biology from the University of Pennsylvania. He performed his postdoctoral studies in the laboratories of Dr. Nathanael Gray and Dr. James Bradner at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School. Dr. Nabet’s laboratory is focused on developing strategies to target oncogenic signaling by controlling protein homeostasis. He pioneered the development of a versatile technology platform known as the dTAG system to rapidly degrade any target protein. The dTAG system facilitates biological exploration and drug target validation in cells and animal models. Dr. Nabet’s work has led to the development of selective agents targeting several cancer drug targets including FAK, PIN1, and DCLK1. These promising compounds inhibit critical vulnerabilities in translational models of cancer and are under continued development as novel therapeutics. Dr. Nabet has been recognized with several scientific honors, including a Claudia Adams Barr Program for Innovative Cancer Research award, an American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellowship, a Katherine Loker Pinard Endowed Fellowship, and an NIH/NCI K22 Transition Career Development Award.
  • Know more about Jungmin Lee, PhD"
    Jungmin Lee, PhD is a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Wendell Lim at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Lee received her BS in Chemistry from Duke University and her PhD in Chemistry from Harvard University. She is interested in rationally engineering biological molecules to precisely control their behaviors and using these engineering principles to inform better therapeutic designs. Her PhD research in the laboratory of Dr. Pamela Silver focused on designing novel protein therapeutics with greater tissue specificity and reduced off-target cross-reactivity based on protein structure-function relationships and spatial geometry of target proteins. Now, Dr. Lee wants to expand her expertise to the cellular level and engineer cells that can perform novel therapeutic functions in response to various input signals at the site of the disease. She is currently developing a smarter, next-generation chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy by incorporating synthetic gene circuits that can improve tumor recognition and tumor infiltration of CAR T cells for the treatment of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. ​
  • Know more about Kiyoshi Saeki, MD PhD"
    Dr. Kiyoshi Saeki is a physician-scientist. He received his M.D. from the Nagasaki University, Nagasaki, Japan, in 2009 and his Ph.D. from the Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan, in 2019. He started studying pancreatic cancer as a graduate student in 2015, where he discovered that concomitant IPMN in PDAC is an independent predictive factor for the development of new PDAC in remnant pancreas. He also investigated ITPN (intraductal tubulopapillary neoplasm) which is also a pancreatic precancerous lesion, and found that recurrence is possible even for a primary noninvasive ITPN. These findings clarified some of the outstanding questions regarding the pathological features of IPMN and ITPN. As a GI surgeon, he recognizes the needs to improve the care and management of patients with IPMN. Hence, he joined Dr. Gloria Su’s lab in 2019 to study the underlying mechanism of how precursor lesions progress to pancreatic cancer using GEMMs (genetically-engineered mouse models) and 3D organoids generated from murine and human IPMN, applying his prior experiences in cancer biology and pathology of pancreatic cancer. He is grateful to the RLFCRF fellowship for supporting his research in IPMN and PDAC. Linkedin Lab Website
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