News & Events


Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion

"When Jared Fischer, Ph.D. [a postdoctoral fellow in Mike Liskay's laboratory in the department of Molecular & Medical Genetics], first heard about the Knight Cancer Institute's Ted R. Lilley Cancer CURE Program two years ago, he was immediately drawn to the opportunity to become a mentor. The eight-week internship gives students from socially and economically disadvantaged backgrounds the chance to work with faculty and graduate students in an OHSU research setting. Fischer saw the program as a chance to make a difference. 'Not very many minorities go into science,' he said. 'A program like this will help change that.' Having recently wrapped up the 2014 summer session, Fischer discussed his experience mentoring two high school students—Jazmin Muñoz and Edgar Hernandez—and what he learned."

See the full article original published in the "Knight News" here.

Alaska Native Research

Professor David Koeller, M.D. of MMG has recently had a story published in the Alaska Dispatch surrounding his research on an Alaska Native genetic variant that may be related to the traditional Arctic diet. See the full article here.

Autism Breakthrough

A study published online yesterday [10.29.14] in Nature identifies genes that, if mutated, either result in autism or contribute to its risk. Brian J. O'Roak, Ph.D., first author on the study… worked on the study for the past three years in collaboration with scientists at three other institutions. The study looked at 2,500 families with autistic children and compared siblings with autistic characteristics to those without the disorder. The 27 genes identified represent a small but significant number of genes correlated with autism. Dr. O'Roak will be working with fellow OHSU colleagues to build a research program designed to identify the full spectrum of these genes, believed to number approximately 400.

Recently Published

Penny Hogarth, M.D. has recently had a paper published with the Journal of Movement Disorders. Her research surrounds neurodegeneration with brain iron accumulation (NBIA); "a group of inherited disorders that share the clinical features of an extrapyramidal movement disorder accompanied by varying degrees of intellectual disability and abnormal iron deposition in the basal ganglia." Check out the full article to learn more. 

Lauriel Earley, fourth year graduate student of the Nakai Lab, was recently listed as the first author in a paper published in the March 2015 Issue of the Journal of Virology. Other authors of the paper include, Kei Adachi, Ph.D., Xiao-Xin Sun, Ph.D., Mu-Shui Dai, Ph.D., and Hiroyuki Nakai, Ph.D.. Their paper, "Identification and Characterization of Nuclear and Nucleolar Localization Signals in the Adeno-Associated Birus Serotype 2 Assembly-Activating Protein" can be found here.

Awards and Recognition

MMG Neurogeneticist Brian J. O'Roak, Ph.D., was one of a select group of researchers in the United States and Canada to be honored with a 2015 Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship. The highly sought-after award honors early-career scientists whose achievements and potential identify them as "rising stars." Click here to see more.

Recently Awarded Grants

February 2015  

Mushui Dai, Ph.D., and Rosalie Sears, Ph.D., received a multi-PI R01 grant award from the NIH titled "Deubiquitination regulation of c-Myc".  This project focuses on understanding the role of the deubiquitinating enzyme USP36 in the regulation of c-Myc protein stability, activity, and oncogeneity.

Rosalie Sears, Ph.D., received a R01 grant award from the NIH titled "The role of post-translational activation of Myc in pancreatic cancer".  The overarching goal of this study is to determine the contribution of KRAS-mediated post-translational activation of Myc to pancreatic cancer development and progression in order to yield new mechanistic insight that could contribute to new therapeutic strategies for this devastating disease.

January 2015

Brian J. O'Roak, Ph.D., received an INSAR (International Society of Austim Research) Young Investigator Award. 

December 2014

Sue Richards, Ph.D., received a grant award from the FDA titled "Retrospective Cohort Study of Risk of Hip Fractures Associated with High Dose, Longterm Proton Pump Inhibitor (HD-PPI) Use and Cytochrome P450 Pharmacogenomic".  The goal of this project is to oversee the CYP2C19 genotyping of samples from KPSC and KPNW and provide scientific input on the pharmacogenetic analyses, test validation and interpretation of results.

November 2014

Brian J. O'Roak, Ph.D., received a NARSAD Young Investigator Grant from the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation titled "A Massively Parallel Approach to Functional Testing of PTEN Mutations".  The goal of this project is to evaluate function of all possible PTEN mutational variants.

October 2014

Susan Hayflick, M.D., received a grant award from the NBIA (Neurodegeneration with Brain Iron Accumulation) Disorders Foundation titled "Examining the role of ischemia in the neurodegenerative disease PKAN".  The goal of this project is to determine if ischemia contributes to the pathology of the neurodegenerative disease PKAN (Pantothenate Kinase-Associated Neurodegeneration).

September 2014

Hiroyuki Nakai, Ph.D., received a grant award from the Found Animal Foundation titled "Engineering viral vectors to target the cat hypothalamus with sterilizing molecules".  The objective of this proposal is to develop a gene therapy delivery agent that reliably and efficiently targets neurons of the cat hypothalamus following a single intravenous (i.v.) administration.

Brian J. O'Roak, Ph.D., received a grant award from the Simons Foundation titled "Investigating the role of somatic mutations in autism spectrum disorders".  The goal of this project is to investigate the role of somatic mutations in autism spectrum disorders. 

July 2014

Jared Fischer, Ph.D., received a NIH K99 award titled "Cancer and Stem Cell Dynamics in the Intestine".  The major goals of this project are to understand the consequences of specific genetic alterations on both tumor initiation and stem cell dynamics in the intestine.

Hiroyuki Nakai, Ph.D., received a NIH R01 from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, titled "AAV capsid functions, immune evasion and neuronal targeting in mice and NHP".  The goal of the project is to develop novel AAV vectors for gene delivery to the central nervous system.

Rosalie Sears, Ph.D., was awarded funds from the Atwater Foundation titled "Managing Heterogeneity in Breast Cancer".  The major goals of this project are to discover mechanisms that contribute to and support tumor cell survival, discover specific targeted drugs that drive heterogeneous breast cancer into a homogeneous state and how to eliminate these homogeneous cells, perform pre-clinical testing with combinatorial drug treatments that eliminate all cells within heterogeneous tumor population, and initiate Phase 1 clinical trials with drug combinations that eliminate heterogeneous breast cancer.

Paul Spellman, Ph.D., received a grant award from the National Science Foundation titled "Accelerator-Rich Architectures with Applications to Healthcare".  The goal of this project is to develop hardware architectures capable of acceleration of genome sequence alignment.

Paul Spellman, Ph.D., was awarded a grant from the Women's Health Circle of Giving titled "cfDNA monitoring: CoG". The major goal is to develop a technology to identify stage I-III breast cancer patients for whom the current standard of care has not eradicated their disease.