In Case You Missed It...

Joe Gray presenting

OCSSB Director among 2020 AACR Team Science Award recipients

Paul Spellman, Ph.D.
Paul T. Spellman, Ph.D.

OCSSB Director Dr. Joe Gray and CEDAR Co-Director Dr. Paul Spellman received 2020 AACR Team Science Awards for their work on the Cancer Genome Atlas.

The Cancer Genome Atlas, a joint effort between the National Cancer Institute and the National Human Genome Research Institute that began in 2006, molecularly characterized over 20,000 primary cancer and matched normal samples spanning 33 cancer types, including cutaneous melanoma, endometrial cancer, glioblastoma, hepatocellular carcinoma, mesothelioma, prostate cancer, and thyroid cancer. The genomic, epigenomic, transcriptomic, and proteomic data generated and made publicly available contributes to the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of cancer.

This is Dr. Gray's second AACR Team Science Award. In 2008, he was a part of a team of clinicians, physicists, biochemists, statisticians, computer scientists and engineers at the University of California San Francisco, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and Roswell Park Cancer Institute that was awarded for the conception, technical implementation, dissemination and pioneering applications of comparative genomic hybridization or CGH, and array CGHin.

July 15, 2020 | Lauren Kronebusch

Jeremy Copperman begins Damon Runyon Foundation Fellowship

Jeremy Copperman headshot
Jeremy Copperman, Ph.D.

This June, postdoctoral fellow Jeremy Copperman, Ph.D., started a three-year quantitative biology fellowship with the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation. Dr. Copperman is a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Daniel Zuckerman's lab. Using statistical physics and modern machine learning tools, Dr. Copperman aims to predict how subpopulations of cancer cells continuously adapt to survive and eventually metastasize to other organs in the body, and to develop predictive whole-cell modeling and optimal control strategies for heterogeneous cellular populations.

His project is titled “Whole-cell modeling for the prediction and control of micro-environmentally regulated proliferative and migratory variability.” He will be co-mentored by Dr. Zuckerman and OCSSB Director Dr. Joe Gray. 

Learn more about the fellowship.

June 2, 2020 | Lauren Kronebusch

Gibbs Lab publishes work on nerve-specific fluorescent dyes in Science Translational Medicine

Summer Gibbs, Ph.D.
by Summer Gibbs, Ph.D.

Work by Summer Gibbs, Ph.D., associate professor of biomedical engineering, and her lab on nerve-specific fluorescent dyes was published this month in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

Gibbs and her team developed these dyes to work with existing surgery instruments to decrease the chance of nerve injuries during surgery. The dyes work by illuminating the nerves, allowing surgeons to avoid damaging nerves they would otherwise be incapable of seeing, sometimes even with optical magnification.

Read the journal article.

Read about the dyes in a recent OHSU Cancer Translated blog post

May 12, 2020 | Lauren Kronebusch

CSBC features public interest piece by Dr. Young Hwan Chang

Young-Hwan Chang, Ph.D. Assistant Professor Biomedical Engineering email
Young Hwan Chang, Ph.D.

Dr. Young Hwan Chang is the first OCSSB researcher to publish a public interest piece with the National Cancer Institute (NCI). OCSSB's U54 center Measuring, Modelling and Controlling Heterogeneity (M2CH) is a member of the NCI Cancer Systems Biology Consortium (CSBC). The CSBC is a group of research centers across the United States that represent an interdisciplinary mix of systems biologists who use experimental biology, computational modeling, multi-dimensional data analysis, and systems engineering to tackle challenges in cancer research. 

NCI recently started an initiative to publish more of its research in the form of lay scientific writing to spread the word on its great work. For his piece, Dr. Chang wrote about his team's work on SHIFT (Speedy Histopathological-to-ImmunoFluorescent Translation), a low-cost computational tool that recognizes diagnostically important features in hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) images. H&E images are common diagnostic tools that stain the nuclei, extracellular matrix, and cytoplasm of a sample. 

Read Dr. Chang's outreach piece (png imag).

March 2020 | Lauren Kronebusch

Dr. Joe Gray and wife Jane Gray featured in OHSU Foundation campaign

Jane and Joe Gray, posed together, smiling, at OHSU
Dr. Joe Gray and Jane Gray (OHSU/Christine Tully)

In February 2017, Jane Gray was diagnosed with metastatic cancer. It was her second diagnosis. She became one of the first 50 patients in the SMMART clinical trials at OHSU, a revolutionary new trial platform co-lead by OCSSB Director Dr. Joe Gray.

Joe and Jane spoke with the OHSU Foundation about Jane's diagnosis.

“That was the start of my thinking about personalization of medicine. Up until that moment, it had been an academic exercise. But in the living room that day, we were assessing all of the data and trying to determine what we were going to do about this individual cancer. It made our whole research enterprise over the last 30 years much more personal,” Joe said.

Read the Grays' story

Learn more about the SMMART platform

March 2020 | Lauren Kronebusch

Dr. Laura Heiser co-chairs Cancer Systems Biology Consortium steering committee

Laura Heiser, Ph.D.
Laura Heiser, Ph.D.

Laura Heiser, Ph.D., associate professor of biomedical engineering and vice chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering, will co-chair the National Cancer Institute's Cancer Systems Biology Consortium (CSBC) steering committee along with Kevin Janes, Ph.D., a professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Virginia.

The CSBC is a group of research centers across the United States that represent an interdisciplinary mix of systems biologists who use experimental biology, computational modeling, multi-dimensional data analysis, and systems engineering to tackle challenges in cancer research. OCSSB's U54 center, Measuring, Modelling and Controlling Heterogeneity (M2CH), is a member of the CSBC.

Dr. Heiser's lab is focused on identifying predictors of drug response and resistance, using novel imaging techniques to identify phenotypic changes associated with molecular aberrations and therapeutic response, and studying the influence of the microenvironment on cancer cells.

January 2020 | Lauren Kronebusch

Gray Lab postdoc Dr. Eugene Manley, Jr. presents at first Knight Wisdom seminar

Gray Lab postdoc Dr. Eugene Manley, Jr. presenting at first Knight Wisdom seminar
Eugene Manley, Jr, Ph.D.

On Dec. 5, Dr. Eugene Manley, Jr. presented at the inaugural Knight Wisdom Seminar Series, which is intended to offer the broader Knight community, including the clinical and administrative sides, exposure to experts in their community.

Dr. Manley was a postdoctoral scholar in the Gray Lab. His research is centered on validating antibodies for immunofluorescence in mice. His goal is to build a database of validated antibodies to further our understanding of disease development in humans. Dr. Manley performs multiplex cyclicIF in mouse tissues to develop cell specific markers in different organs for ECM, angiogenesis, proliferation and immunity among other functions. During his Knight Wisdom presentation, he gave an overview of his project and the function of multiplex cyclicIF for centers like OCSSB, which is a member of the Cancer Systems Biology Consortium.

December 2019 | Lauren Kronebusch

OCSSB hosts annual M2CH retreat

A schematic of the overall project aims of the M2CH

On Dec. 3 and 4, 2019, our Cancer System Biology Consortium (CSBC) U54 Measuring, Modeling and Controlling Heterogeneity (M2CH) center hosted its annual retreat. The retreat gives our team the chance to review current and future work and get feedback from our external advisory board (EAC). This year, EAC members Drs. Andrew Ewald, Andrea Califano, Josh Stuart and Jeff Price joined us for the retreat.

Drs. Rosie Sears (OHSU) and Claire Tomlin (UC Berkeley) presented their research updates investigating the effects of drug scheduling on therapeutic efficacy in triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). Drs. Jim Korkola and Laura Heiser discussed their work on how the tumor microenvironment impacts tumor heterogeneity and therapeutic response in TNBC. Drs. Koei Chin, Xiaolin Nan and Ellen Langer presented their work using cyclicIF analysis of tumor heterogeneity, super-resolution imaging for analysis of cellular protrusions and receptors, and the use of 3D bioprinting as a model system to test M2CH findings. Drs. Emek Demir, Claire Tomlin and Margaret Chapman presented on the modeling approaches they are developing and applying.

 Other presentations included four M2CH supplement projects and three teams of junior investigators who won pilot funding from OHSU and Stanford for their proposals at this May's West Coast Symposium, hosted at OHSU. The EAC was very enthusiastic about the progress made in each of the projects and the overall coordination of the M2CH U54 program. 

December 2019 | Lauren Kronebusch

SMMART® featured at the Knight School

View of the Knight Cancer Institute digital display, a large Knight Cancer Institute logo over a blue technical background

The SMMART® Program was featured as the November 19 Knight School lecture. Knight School lectures are free community-facing science talks as told by Knight Cancer researchers, clinicians, and patients. 

Precision oncology assistant director for research collaborations Rochelle Williams-Belizaire and SMMART scientific program manager Brett Johnson, Ph.D., joined to introduce the audience to the innovative cancer clinical trials platform.

SMMART, which stands for Serial Measurements of Molecular and Architectural Responses to Therapy, is the flagship project of the Knight Cancer Institute Precision Oncology program. 

The program's goal is to understand why cancer therapies stop working and to identify new treatments that last longer and allow a better quality of life than current, standard treatments. The program began with helping metastatic breast, prostate, and pancreatic patients as well as refractory AML, and is now expanding into other disease types.

 "The SMMART program takes what we learned in the lab and puts it into the clinic to create personalized treatment for our patients," Williams-Belizaire told the Knight School audience. To do this, teams of scientists using novel imaging and diagnostic techniques analyze data received from repeated (serial) patient biopsies to make treatment changes over time.

 "There's a need to understand not just a patient's cancer as it's initially presented, but to follow that patient over time and understand how the cancer is adapting and changing so we can adequately give that patient therapy so it will continue to be effective," Johnson said.

How to learn more

SMMART program - learn more 

SMMART Knight School lecture - watch

Oregon Public Broadcasting on SMMART - read

CNN's Great Big Story featuring SMMART - watch

Knight School lectures -  learn more

November 2019 | Lauren Kronebusch

Knight Cancer Institute Precision Oncology Symposium on "Durable Responses with Acceptable Toxicity"

Stanford teammates posed in informal group shot
Stanford teammates pose, from top counterclockwise: Irene Li, Loukia Karacosta, Saumyaa Saumyaa (insert), Almudena Espin Perez and Serena Chang (bottom left).

On Nov. 15, 2019, the Knight Cancer Institute's Precision Oncology program, led by Dr. Gordon Mills, M.D., Ph.D., invited four speakers to discuss their work on determining and testing cancer treatments using the lowest possible dose of therapeutic drugs.

Dr. Mills along with speakers Drs. Alexander Anderson, Ph.D. (Moffitt Cancer Center), Senthil Muthuswamy, Ph.D. (Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Harvard Medical School), Alex Gaither, Ph.D. (LG Chem Life Sciences Innovation Center, Inc.), and Jeremy Goecks, Ph.D. (OHSU), joined the Nov. 15 "Durable Responses with Acceptable Toxicity" symposium to discuss their work developing cutting-edge techniques to determine what kinds of patients will respond to which treatments and when to stop and start treatments.

This is a vital area of study because traditional cancer treatments involve giving patients the highest possible dose of a drug or multiple drugs to kill off cancer cells. However, this standard of treatment causes cancers cells to become resistant to therapy quickly. With lower doses of medication, patients save money and can be spared the potential toxicity that comes at high doses.

Read more about our presenters:

Gordon Mills

Alexander Anderson

Alex Gaither

Jeremy Goecks

Senthil Muthuswamy

November 2019 | Lauren Kronebusch