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Congratulations to Mostafa Nasr, a Moffitt/USF Cancer Biology PhD student in the lab of Dr. Conor Lynch, who recently received an NCI Predoctoral to Postdoctoral Fellow Transition Award (F99/K00)! 

The purpose of the award is to encourage and retain outstanding graduate students as independent cancer researchers. The award will facilitate the transition of talented graduate students into successful cancer research postdoctoral appointments with four years of funding during the K00 phase, and provide opportunities for career development activities relevant to their long-term career goals of becoming independent cancer researchers.

I'm so grateful for the support of my mentors, colleagues and loved ones, who've been with me all along. I'm determined to use this opportunity to make a real impact in the fight against cancer.
Mostafa Nasr

The title of Mostafa’s project is “Dissecting the intrinsic and extrinsic regulators of prostate cancer dormancy in the bone microenvironment.” Cancer cell dormancy is a clinically significant problem, in which cancer cells that have spread to distant tissues can lay dormant for months or years only to suddenly reawaken as an active metastatic disease. For prostate cancer, these metastases typically arise in the skeleton where they greatly contribute to patient mortality.

Approximately 34,700 men will die from prostate cancer in the U.S. alone in 2023 and more than 90% will have bone metastases. Therefore, understanding the mechanisms that govern prostate cancer cell dormancy in the bone microenvironment can reveal actionable therapeutic targets which will be paramount to enhancing long-term survival of prostate cancer patients. 

Mostafa has found PRDM16 to be a key regulator of prostate cancer cell dormancy and will dedicate the F99 phase of his studies in the laboratory of Dr. Conor Lynch at Moffitt to understand how this novel transcription factor controls the dormancy program.