Research Day 2023 features nearly 120 trainee posters

The UF Health Cancer Center held a well-attended Research Day on Jan. 11 at the Hilton University of Florida Conference Center, drawing a record number of submissions as the event returned to an in-person format for the first time in several years. The event provided an outstanding opportunity for trainees to showcase their research and discuss ideas for future collaborations with their peers.

Jonathan Licht, M.D., director of the UF Health Cancer Center, views a poster during Research Day 2023 at the Hilton University of Florida Conference Center on Jan. 11.

This year’s event featured nearly 120 trainee posters from across the Cancer Center’s three research programs, as well as 21 faculty and staff posters. There were also 14 posters from the Cancer Center’s Shared Resources and Cores.

“I’m thrilled that we were able to gather in person this year after holding the past two Research Days virtually,” said Jonathan Licht, M.D., director of the Cancer Center. “We hope this spurs many new collaborations across the Cancer Center.”

Thomas Gajewski, M.D., Ph.D., the AbbVie Foundation Professor in the Ben May Department of Cancer Research and Departments of Medicine and Pathology at the University of Chicago, delivered this year’s keynote address, titled “Mechanisms of response versus resistance to cancer immunotherapy.”

The Cancer Center also presented six Predoctoral Awards at the event. These awards are intended to recognize and support outstanding predoctoral candidates who are conducting innovative cancer research. The graduate students selected from a highly competitive pool of applicants represent a range of departments across the University of Florida, reflecting the Cancer Center’s multidisciplinary approach to solving the problem of cancer. Predoctoral awardees gave three-minute presentations during Research Day.

Please help us congratulate our poster winners and Predoctoral Award recipients, listed below. Special thanks to our poster judges and to everyone who worked hard to make this event a success.

Poster Winners

Pre-Collegiate, Undergraduate & Postbaccalaureate Student Category

CCPS 30: Fernando Sckaff
Mentor: Jatinder Lamba, Ph.D., M.Sc.
An Epigenetic Signature Predicts Outcome in Pediatric AML Patients

CCPS 31: Maria Serafim
Mentor: Mei He, Ph.D.
Nanographene Engineered Magnetic Particles for pH-responsive Capture of Bone Marrow Stem Cell Derived Regenerative Extracellular Vesicles Enabling Lung Cancer-Associated Fibrosis Treatment

MOO 124: 
Griffin Willman
Mentor: Sumita Bhaduri-McIntosh, M.D., Ph.D.
Polymerase Theta Is a Synthetic Lethal Target for Killing Epstein-Barr Virus Lymphomas

Graduate & Predoctoral Student Category

CTHR 62: Minh-Chau Le
Mentor: Z. Hugh Fan, Ph.D.
Microfluidic Isolation and Phenotyping of Circulating Tumor Cells from Pediatric Sarcoma Patients

CTHR 70: Rachel Newsome
Mentor: Christian Jobin, Ph.D.
A Bacterial Consortium Engineered from Feces of Patients Responding to anti-PD1 Treatment Mediates Tumor Response Through IFNγ in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

CTHR 59: Alicia Hou
Mentor: Jianping Huang, M.D., Ph.D.
CAR T Cell Production Expands Endogenous T cell Repertoire Recognizing Additional Tumor Antigen(s)

CCPS 18: Arinola Lampejo
Mentor: W. Lee Murfee, Ph.D.
Incorporation of Tumor Spheroids into an ex vivo Tissue Culture Model for Investigating Cancer Cell–Microvascular Interactions

CTHR 72: Nam Nguyen
Mentor: Jatinder Lamba, Ph.D., M.Sc.
Genome-wide CRISPR/Cas9 Screen Identifies AraC-Daunorubicin-Etoposide (ADE) Response Modulators Associated with Clinical Outcomes in Pediatric AML

CTHR 73: Corey Perkins
Mentor: Thomas Schmittgen, Ph.D.
Race Plays a Role on the Rate of Transdifferentation in Human Pancreatic Acinar Ductal Metaplasia and Its Drug Response

CTHR 90: Lei Wang
Mentor: Weizhou Zhang, Ph.D.
Proteolysis-Targeting Chimera Against NR4A1 for Cancer Immunotherapy

MOO 117: Gabriel Prado
Mentor: Jonathan Licht, M.D.
Loss of KMT2C, a Subunit of the Compass-like Complex, Cooperates with Oncogenic Signaling in Cancer

CTHR 67: Benjamin Meyer
Mentor: Maria Zajac-Kaye, Ph.D.
Thymidylate Synthase as a Novel Target for AAV-Based Therapy

Postdoctoral Trainee Category

CTHR 55: Mohammad Gbadamosi, Ph.D.
Mentor: Duane Mitchell, M.D., Ph.D.
A Genome-Wide Association Study Using HapMap Cell Lines Reveals Key Modulators of Response to Cyclophosphamide

MOO 121: Amin Sobh, Ph.D.
Mentor: Jonathan Licht, M.D.
The Histone Methyltransferase NSD2 Overexpression Drives Multiple Myeloma Cell Dependence on Adenylate Kinase 2

CTHR 81: Sunaina Shrestha, M.D.
Mentor: Ali Zarrinpar, M.D., Ph.D.
A Novel Drug Combination with Improved Therapeutic Efficacy over Standard of Care in Preclinical Models of Hepatocellular Carcinoma

UF Health Cancer Center Predoctoral Awardees

Diliara Bagautdinova, M.A.

Diliara Bagautdinova, M.A.

Mentor: Carla Fisher, Ph.D.

“Healthy Adult Development in AYA Oncology: Promoting Identity Development by Enhancing Family and Clinician Communication”

miles cameron
Miles Cameron, B.Sc.

Miles Cameron, B.Sc.

Mentor: Andrew Judge, Ph.D.

“Identification of Mechanisms and a Novel Therapeutic Intervention to Counter Cancer-associated Cachexia”

Minh-Chau Le, B.S.

Minh-Chau Le, B.S.

Mentor: Hugh Fan, Ph.D.

“Microfluidic Platforms for the Detection of Rare Cells in Sarcomas and Triple-Negative Breast Cancer”

Nam Nguyen, Pharm.D.

Nam Nguyen, Pharm.D.

Mentor: Jatinder Lamba, Ph.D.

“CRISPR/Cas9 Screening to Identify Modulators of Chemotherapy Response in Pediatric Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML)”

Sadeem Qdaisat, B.S.

Sadeem Qdaisat, B.S.

Mentor: Elias Sayour, M.D., Ph.D.

“Resetting IFN-I signaling to unlock cancer immunogenicity”

Gregory Takacs, B.S.

Gregory Takacs, B.S.

Mentor: Jeffrey Harrison, Ph.D.

“Investigating mechanisms of CCR2+ myeloid cell-derived immune suppression in glioblastoma”

Thank you to our faculty poster judges!

Richard Bennett, Ph.D.
Adriaan Bruijnzeel, Ph.D.
Jorg Bungert, Ph.D.
Carma Bylund, Ph.D.
Paul Castillo Caro, M.D.
Demetra Christou, Ph.D.
Paul Crispen, M.D.
Loic Deleyrolle, Ph.D.
Bently Doonan, M.D., M.S.
Z. Hugh Fan, Ph.D.
Meghan Ferrall-Fairbanks, Ph.D.
Raad Gharaibeh, Ph.D.
Yan Gong, Ph.D., M.S.
Jeffrey Harrison, Ph.D.
Mei He, Ph.D.
Kathryn Hitchcock, M.D.
Lan Hoang-Minh, Ph.D.
Young-Rock Hong, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Margaret James, Ph.D., D.Sc.
Andrew Judge, Ph.D.
Janice Krieger, Ph.D.
Jatinder Lamba, Ph.D.

Daiqing Liao, Ph.D.
Jonathan Licht, M.D.
Debra Lyon, Ph.D., R.N.
Jianrong Lu, Ph.D.
Steven Madore, Ph.D.
Siobhan Malany, Ph.D.
Rowan Milner, B.V.Sc., M.Med.Vet.
W. Lee Murfee, Ph.D.
Walter O’Dell, Ph.D.
Rolf Renne, Ph.D.
Luisel Ricks-Santi, Ph.D.
Thomas Schmittgen, Ph.D.
Dietmar Siemann, Ph.D.
Ashley Smuder, Ph.D.
Catherine Striley, Ph.D., M.S.W.
Zsolt Toth, Ph.D.
John Wingard, M.D.
Lizi Wu, Ph.D.
Rui Xiao, Ph.D.
Chengguo Xing, Ph.D.
Alex Yoon, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Weizhou Zhang, Ph.D.

Thanks to all who attended!