Cancer Researchers on the Rise: Xzaviar Solone, M.S.

Xzaviar Solone, M.S., is a fifth-year Ph.D. candidate in the Cancer Biology Concentration in the University of Florida Graduate Program in Biomedical Sciences. He works in the lab of Lizi Wu, Ph.D., a professor in the department of molecular genetics and microbiology and co-leader of the UF Health Cancer Center’s Mechanisms of Oncogenesis research program.

Lung cancer is the deadliest cancer. Up to one third of patients with non-small cell lung cancer, the major subset of lung cancer, exhibit loss-of-function mutations in the tumor suppressor gene STK11 (LKB1). Lung tumors with LKB1 inactivation manifest aggressive and treatment-refractory characteristics. Solone’s research aims to understand the molecular regulation diving the association between LKB1 loss and onset of malignant aggressive behaviors, providing valuable insights to inform future research and therapeutic strategies.

Solone completed his undergraduate studies in general biology at Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach. He followed the pre-med track during undergrad and thought he would pursue a clinical career. But he became interested in conducting cancer research during two summer internships at the University of Florida. After completing a master’s degree in integrative biology at Kennesaw State University in Georgia, he began his doctoral studies at UF.

At the UF Health Cancer Center, Solone has been involved in numerous educational activities, sharing his research and career path with the next generation of cancer researchers. He has also mentored two undergraduate students.

Solone’s research has won several accolades, including a poster award at the 2023 Cancer Biology Training Consortium (CABTRAC) Annual Retreat and a poster award at the UF Health Cancer Center’s 2024 Annual Research Showcase.

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