Research Showcase 2024 exhibits multidisciplinary cancer research across UF

The UF Health Cancer Center held a well-attended Research Showcase on Jan. 31 at the Reitz Union Grand Ballroom, drawing a record number of abstracts featuring collaborative research across the University of Florida. The event showcased the center’s multidisciplinary approach to solving the problem of cancer, with research ranging from basic mechanisms of disease, to cancer prevention and screening, to new cancer therapies. It provided an outstanding opportunity for trainees to discuss ideas for future collaborations with their peers.

Poster session
The UF Health Cancer Center’s annual Research Showcase featured a record 181 posters.

This year’s event featured 181 posters across the center’s four research programs. There were also 14 posters from the Cancer Center’s Shared Resources and Cores and four from its cancer research training and education programs.

Christopher Mason, Ph.D., a professor of genomics, physiology and biophysics at Weill Cornell Medicine and director of the WorldQuant Initiative for Quantitative Prediction, gave the keynote lecture, titled “Genetic and Epigenetic Reprogramming in Cancer and Spaceflight.”

The Cancer Center also presented four Predoctoral Awards at the event. These awards recognize and support standout predoctoral candidates who are conducting innovative cancer research. Predoctoral awardees gave three-minute presentations during Research Day.

For the first time, the showcase also included a daylong career explorations event for undergraduate students from across the country. Thirty-two students were selected for the opportunity, which included career panels with UF cancer research trainees and tours of UF labs.

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 great success.

Poster Winners

Pre-Collegiate, Undergraduate & Postbaccalaureate Student Category

IOM 104: Huijia Liu
Mentor: Christian Jobin, Ph.D.
Microbial-derived immunostimulatory small molecule synergizes with anti-PD-1 therapy in lung cancer

IOM 110: John Sommerville
Mentor: Coy Heldermon, MD, PhD
Differences in composition, diversity, and function of the fecal microbiota of post-menopausal breast cancer patients compared to healthy, age-matched controls

CTT 92: Juliette Zapata
Mentor: Meghan Ferrall-Fairbanks, PhD
The Race Against Time: Quantifying the Temporal Dynamics of Cisplatin Resistance in Ovarian Cancer

Graduate & Predoctoral Student Category

CTT 45: Seth Hale
Mentor: Daiqing Liao, Ph.D.
Potent HDAC isozyme-selective PROTAC degraders as probes for understanding the biological functions of class I HDACs

IOM 103: Suzanne Lightsey
Mentor: Blanka Sharma, Ph.D.
Engineering Hydrogels to Investigate the Role of Extracellular Matrix Cues on Natural Killer Cell Functions

CCPS 173: Daniel Stribling & Frederick Ashby
Mentor: Ilyas Sahin, M.D.
Evaluation of ChatGPT (GPT-4) and Google Bard Performance on Medical Questions by UF Health Oncology Patients

IOM 111: Gregory Takacs
Mentor: Jeffrey Harrison, Ph.D.
Glioma-derived factors induce an immune suppressive phenotype in bone marrow-derived CCR2+ myeloid cells

CCPS 171: Nanyangwe Siuluta
Mentor: Robert Cook, M.D., M.P.H.
The association of traumatic life experiences with cervical cancer screening among women living with HIV in Florida

MOO 13: Xzaviar Solone
Mentor: Lizi Wu, Ph.D.
Investigating Aberrant AREG-EGFR Signaling in LKB1-Inactivated Lung Cancer

Postdoctoral Trainee, Resident & Clinical Fellow Category

CTT 84: Amin Sobh, Ph.D.
Mentor: Jonathan D. Licht, M.D.
NSD2 overexpression drives multiple myeloma dependence on adenylate kinase 2 by diverting one-carbon metabolism to the epigenome

CCPS 147: Tianshi Liu, M.D.
Mentor: Yonghui Wu, Ph.D.
Clinical large language models to predict loss to follow up for oncology patients discharged to skilled nursing facilities

MOO 16: Xin Zhou, Ph.D.
Mentor: Lizi Wu, Ph.D.
Novel Mechanisms of Immunosuppressive Microenvironments in LKB1-deficient Lung Cancers

UF Health Cancer Center Predoctoral Awardees

Madison Carelock
Madison Carelock

Madison Carelock

Mentor: Weizhou Zhang, Ph.D.

“Attenuating breast cancer metastasis with BCL-XL-targeting PROTACs”

Anna DeVries
Anna DeVries

Anna DeVries

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

“Establishing the cross-talk mechanisms between innate and adaptive immunity following systemic mRNA vaccination”

Zachary Greenberg

Zachary Greenberg

Mentor: Mei He, Ph.D.

“AI-driven methods to engineer extracellular vesicles for precision cancer immunotherapy”

Nicholas Hiers

Nicholas Hiers

Mentor: Mingyi Xie, Ph.D.

“Identification of miRNA-Associated Therapeutic Targets in Cancer”

Thank you to our poster judges!

Adriaan Bruijnzeel, Ph.D.
Andy Judge, Ph.D.
John A. Ligon, M.D.
Bernadett Papp, Ph.D.
Alex Yoon, Ph.D.
Frederic J. Kaye, M.D.
Loic Deleyrolle, Ph.D.
Rolf Renne, Ph.D.
Carma Bylund, Ph.D.
Jatinder Lamba, Ph.D.
Lynn El Haddad, Ph.D.
Chris Vulpe, Ph.D.
Danielle Jake-Schoffman, Ph.D.
Jonathan D. Licht, M.D.
Demetra Christou, Ph.D.
Mei He, Ph.D.
Jeffrey Harrison, Ph.D.
Jorg Bungert, Ph.D.
Jae Jeong Yang, Ph.D.
Mohammed Gbadamosi, Ph.D.
Weizhou Zhang, Ph.D.
Lizi Wu, Ph.D.
Jennifer Fieber, M.D.
Nathan Seligson, Pharm.D.
Bently Doonan, M.D.

Zhijian Qian, Ph.D.
Jennifer LeLaurin, Ph.D.
Paul Crispen, M.D.
Christina Von Roemeling, Ph.D.
Xin Tang, Ph.D.
Marwa Tantawy, Ph.D.
Sarah Judge, Ph.D.
Erin Dean, M.D.
Bowen Yan, Ph.D.
Ramzi Salloum, Ph.D.
Thomas George, M.D., FACP
Raad Gharaibeh, Ph.D.
Richard Bennett, Ph.D.
Shama Karanth, Ph.D.
Zsolt Toth, Ph.D.
Walter O’Dell, Ph.D.
Tuo Lin, Ph.D.
Yan Gong, Ph.D.
Yanjun Li, Ph.D.
Young-Rock Hong, Ph.D.
Z. Hugh Fan, Ph.D.
Luisel Ricks-Santi, Ph.R.
Citizen Scientists:
Carlos Maeztu
Stan Richardson
Kristie Hill

Thanks to all who attended!