David Wolff, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Mikhail Nikiforov, PhD, has been awarded a Pathway to Independence Award for Postdoctoral Researchers (K99/R00) from the National Cancer Institute (NCI). This program helps outstanding postdoctoral researchers complete mentored training and transition in a timely manner to independent, tenure-track or equivalent faculty positions.
The Nikiforov Lab has demonstrated that melanoma cell invasion promoted by RAC1 is dependent on production of GTP by specific enzymes. Wolff will use funds to study whether this finding can be leveraged to suppress a mutated form of RAC1 present in a subset of melanoma patients which confers resistance to standard-of-care therapeutics and a poor prognosis.
Earlier this year, Nikiforov’s group identified pathways that could lead to development of long-awaited RAC1-suppressing anticancer drugs, and published a study led by Wolff, the first author, that uncovered a novel regulatory signal transduction pathway by Ephrin Receptors in melanoma. Read more about the study here.