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April 2023

The Metabolism and Physiology Department was well represented at the AACR Annual Meeting!

  • Smalley lab postdoc Mariam Khaled received a Scholar in Training award and gave an oral presentation in the “Interactions between Tumor Cells and Immune Cells, Neurons, and Fibroblasts in the Tumor Microenvironment” minisymposium.
  • Marusyk lab PhD student Bina Desai received a Scholar in Training award and presented a poster in the “Oncogenes and Tumor Suppressor Genes as Targets for Therapy 1” poster session.
  • DeNicola lab PhD student Janine DeBlasi received a Scholar in Training award and presented a poster in the “Mouse Models of Human Cancer” poster session.
  • Silva lab Research Instructor Praneeth Reddy Sudalagunta presented a poster in the “Integrative Cancer Systems Biology” poster session.
  • Silva lab Research Scientist Rafael Renatino Canevarolo presented a poster in the “Oxidative Stress, Metabolism, and Cell Senescence” poster session.

Inna Smalley was awarded a Research Scholar Grant from the American Cancer Society for her project “Improving therapy for leptomeningeal Non-Hodgkin B cell lymphoma by targeting the metabolic tumor microenvironment.” Congrats Inna!

David Morse received a letter from the Department of Defense, CDMRP, recommending funding for the Melanoma Research Program's Focused Program Award – Rare Melanomas proposal. The award will be for 4 years and will support 2 projects, each with a clinical trial. Project 1, led by Dr. Morse, focuses on a multi-dosing regimen for targeted alpha-particle therapy for rare melanomas. Dr. Nikhil Khushalani will be the PI of the project 1 clinical trial, and Dr. Ghassan El-Haddad will administer radiopharmaceuticals for the trial. Project 2, led by Dr. Eduardo Moros with Dr. Chris Tichacek as Co-I, focuses on image-based three-dimensional radiation dosimetry for Ac-225-MTI-201. Dr. Ken Gage will be the PI of the project 2 clinical trial, and Dr. Vinay Banka will perform radiochemistry to support the development of a novel SPECT companion imaging tracer. Other key personnel include Dr. Ken Tsai, Dr. Michael Schell, and Dr. Mikalai Budzevich. This is an exciting team-science effort that aims to translate novel uveal melanoma targeted alpha-particle therapy into clinical practice and expand its use to other rare melanomas. Congrats to the team!

Smalley lab postdoc Mariam Khaled published a review paper on leptomeningeal disease in patients with melanoma metastases in Cancers.

DeNicola Lab PhD student Janine DeBlasi published her work characterizing the influence of NRF2 and KEAP1 mutations on lung tumor initiation and progression in Cancer Research.

Smalley lab Research Assistant Ronak Kundalia was accepted to Medical School and is heading to New York Medical College. Congrats Ronak!

DeNicola lab undergraduate Lejin Sun was accepted into the Moffitt PhD program. Congrats Lejin!

March 2023

DeNicola Lab postdoc Sang Jun Yoon published his work using in vivo stable isotope tracing to map the origin and catabolism of cysteine in murine tissues and tumor models in Cancer Research.

DeNicola Lab members Nate Ward, Aimee Falzone and Nicolas Prieto published collaborative work on how the source of nicotinamide governs its metabolic fate in Cell Reports.

Patsy McDonald departed Moffitt to be Senior Director of Biology at Lexicon Pharmaceuticals. We wish her the best in her new role and will miss her at Moffitt.

Gina DeNicola organized the Central Triangle Metabolism Meeting with Tim Osborne at Johns Hopkins All Children’s and Bret Goodpaster at Advent Health Translational Research Institute. Inna Smalley presented her lab’s work on the metabolism of leptomeningeal metastasis. Pasty McDonald presented her lab's work on pharmacological approaches to combat cancer cachexia.

February 2023

DeNicola Lab instructor Nate Ward published collaborative work with the Gomes lab (Department of Molecular Oncology) on the role of NAD(P)H synthesis in metastasis in Redox Biology.

January 2023

In September 2022, Patsy McDonald was awarded an NIH High End Instrument grant (S10), for a $1.25M state-of-the-art "High Throughput, High Content Screening and Imaging system" that will be housed in the Analytical Microscopy core. The Opera Phenix Plus arrived in late December and is scheduled to be installed in the Analytical Microscopy Core on Jan 23.

Gina DeNicola was named as the Leader of the newly established Metabolism Program.

November 2022

DeNicola lab at Miles for MoffittInstructors Nate Ward and Chang Jiang from the DeNicola lab attended the Society for Redox Biology and Medicine annual meeting in Orlando to present their work. Nate received a travel award to attend the meeting.

The DeNicola lab participated in Miles for Moffitt.

DeNicola Lab instructor Nate Ward and postdoc Sang Jun Yoon published collaborative work characterizing a novel yeast homocysteine synthase in JBC.

Ronak Kundalia from the Smalley lab was selected to present his work "Combination BRAF/MEK inhibition improves survival with leptomeningeal disease from melanoma" at the Society for Neuro-Oncology Annual Meeting in Tampa. The project is a collaboration with Dr. Peter Forsyth and Dr. Gerald Wallace. 

October 2022

DeNicola Lab postdoc Laura Torrente published collaborative work characterizing novel Cu(II) biosensors in PNAS.

September 2022

Inna Smalley was awarded an R21 from the NCI.

Chang Jiang from the DeNicola lab was awarded a K99 grant from the NIH/NCI. 

Inna Smalley was awarded the Donald A. Adam Melanoma and Skin Cancer Center of Excellence (MSCCoE) and Cutaneous Oncology Award.

Gina DeNicola, Nate Ward and Yumi Kim from the DeNicola lab attended the Keystone Tumor metabolism meeting. Gina chaired the Redox Biology session and presented on "Cysteine metabolism in Cancer" and Nate presented a poster. Nate was awarded the NK and Irene Cheung Family Scholar Award to attend the Keystone Meeting. 

DeNicola Lab Research Instructor Nate Ward published collaborative work understanding the role of iron in MAPK inhibitor resistance in pancreatic cancer in Cancer Discovery. 

August 2022

Cheyenne Schneider from the DeNicola lab graduated from USF with a M.S. degree in Molecular Medicine Research. 

Janine DeBlasi from the DeNicola lab attended the CSHL Models and Mechanisms of Cancer Conference and presented a poster on her work understanding the role of NRF2 in tumor initiation and progression. 

Alpha Particle Therapy clinical team members

Alpha-Particle Therapy Targeted to Metastatic Uveal Melanoma

A first-in-human clinical trial to test a new targeted alpha-particle therapy in patients with metastatic uveal melanoma was opened at Moffitt Cancer Center in July 2022. Development of this new peptide receptor radiotherapy (PRRT) began eight years ago in the Morse laboratory and a multidisciplinary team performed preclinical studies led by Dr. Morse (biological studies), Dr. Moros and Tichacek (medical physics), Dr. McLaughlin (peptide chemistry, now at West Virginia University), and Dr. Wadas (radiochemistry, now at University of Iowa). Pre-IND studies were performed in collaboration with Modulation Therapeutics Inc. The clinical team at Moffitt, pictured above, administered targeted alpha particle therapy to patients for the first time in August 2022 and are following tolerability, efficacy, pharmacokinetics and radiation dosimetry. They include from left, Rebecca Rogers (Nuclear Medicine tech), William Gibbons (Radiation Safety official), Ghassan El-Haddad, MD (Interventional Radiology and Nuclear Medicine), Ken Gage MD, PhD (Nuclear Medicine), Nikhil Khushalani MD (Chief, Medical Oncology), Christopher Tichacek PhD, (Medical Physicist in Radiation Oncology) and Mikalai Budzevich PhD, (manager of the SAIL core).

July 2022

DeNicola Lab Postdoctoral Fellow Nathan Ward and Silva lab Applied Postdoctoral Fellow Praneeth Reddy Sudalagunta were awarded the Research Instructor designation.

DeNicola Lab Research Instructor Chang Jiang published her work using CRISPR screening to identify redox vulnerabilities for NRF2/KEAP1 mutant lung cancer cells in Redox Biology.

June 2022

Inna Smalley was awarded a Young Investigator Award from the Melanoma Research Alliance.

Dr. Bob Gillies

Moffitt and the Metabolism and Physiology Department Mourn the Loss of Former Chair Dr. Robert Gillies

The global research community lost a great leader, scientist and collaborator. Dr. Robert Gillies' vision and work over the past 14 years made an indelible mark on Moffitt Cancer Center's success and helped pave the future. Throughout his career, he was an incredible mentor to students, postdoctoral fellows and faculty. Read more

May 2022

Praneeth Reddy Sudalagunta participated in the Biologically Informed Models of Combination Therapies IDEAS Lab organized by IBM Research and the National Cancer Institute (NCI).  

Rafael Renatino Canevarolo, representing Praneeth Reddy Sudalagunta, made an oral presentation of the research titled "Functional Genomic Landscape in Multiple Myeloma Identifies Novel Therapeutic Strategies," at the 2022 Moffitt Scientific Symposium.

Rafael Renatino Canevarolo received an Oral Presentation Award in the area of Quantitative Science at the 2022 Moffitt Scientific Symposium.  

April 2022

Moffitt Cancer Center sponsors the "Cancer Metabolism Showcase and Workshops," a postdoc and student-focused event featuring 20 oral presentations, 85 posters, and career development workshops from members of the academia, industry, publishing and NIH community. This event was co-organized by Dr. Gina DeNicola. DeNicola lab science was represented by Nathan (oral presentation), Chang Jiang (poster presentation), and Laura Torrente (poster presentation).

March 2022

Praneeth Reddy Sudalagunta presented his research titled "Functional Genomic Landscape of Multiple Myeloma Informed by TCC-Avatar Data Identifies Novel Therapeutic Strategies" at the 2022 ORIEN Scientific Retreat in St. Petersburg, Florida.  

Rafael Renatino Canevarolo was invited to participate as a speaker at the First Workshop on Molecular Biology promoted by the Graduate Program on Biosciences and Biotechnology Applied to Pharmacy, from the São Paulo State University (Brazil). Title of the presentation: "Clinical Evolution of Multiple Myeloma and its Association with Dynamic Epigenetic Profiles."  

Metabolism and Physiology