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Assistant Professor of Neurology
Harvard Medical School
Mass General Research Institute
|PhD Vrije Universiteit 2010
brain metastases; brain tumor therapies; brain tumors; cancer metabolism; cancer stem cells; drug design; drug screening assays antitumor; endoplasmic reticulum; fatty acids; gliomas; ubiquitin
Glioma, a common form of primary central nervous system tumors, is an aggressive, incurable type of brain tumors. This heterogeneous tumor population, is enriched in a subset of brain-tumor initiating cells or glioma stem cells (GSCs) with self-renewal and tumor initiation capacities. Our group is focused on studying the major genetic hubs driving this cancer subpopulation and the molecular aspects governing self-renewal and tumor initiation. In our studies we use a multidisciplinary approach combining targeted chemical and genetic inhibitors as well as protein profiling to interrogate GSCs and develop novel therapies for brain tumors. Using this approach, we have identified metabolic dependencies in highly aggressive GSCs which can be exploited to specifically target these cells. We are also interested in studying tumor plasticity, in particular the ability of GSCs to change their transcriptional profile in response to different environmental or therapeutic insults, thereby favoring a more aggressive and resistant tumor population.