Our summer was filled with many new experiences for everyone.
To start off, we attended the celebration of Aanandi’s nuptials.
We were excited to host a summer undergraduate research student from the University of Evansville, Indiana. Audrey Chambers was supported by an NSF fellowship and worked under the mentorship of Elizabeth Mendes on cell state in fusion-positive RMS, where she learned experimental design with shRNA knockdowns and small molecule inhibitors. She also learned to do qPCR, Western blots, and cell culture. Audrey celebrated the 4th of July with us at Dorothea Dix Park in Raleigh, and enjoyed a host of ethnic foods from around the Triangle area at the Raleigh International Food Festival. Audrey will go on to her senior year at her university and plans on applying to PhD programs to cultivate her future as a scientist.
We said goodbye to a freshly graduated medical fellow – Dr. Brian Guedes – who specialized in Pediatric Hematology-Oncology. He is enjoying time with his family and settling into the role of a physician specialist at the All Children’s Hospital in Florida. While at Duke he was the chief fellow in his program and worked on novel kinase targets in fusion-positive RMS. We wish him the best!
Joining our lab is Dr. George Turco, a second-year medical fellow in the Duke Pediatric Hematology-Oncology program. George will work with Aanandi, our research tech testing new pharmacologic agents in fusion-negative RMS and fusion-positive RMS. He is currently working on honing his cell culture skills and learning new wet lab techniques such as Western blots and cloning. To celebrate George’s new role and to say goodbye to Audrey after an eventful summer, we held a bowling outing which George won, leaving everyone far, far behind!!
We have also loved having Dr. Leen Barbar, an MD from Syria, in our lab as a research scholar.
Lastly, we are grateful to Sam Weitzel for her efforts in our lab. Sam is now a junior and looks forward to exploring other scientific projects at Duke to expand her repertoire of molecular assays.
In January, we welcomed the newest member of our lab – Aanandi Munshi – in the position of Research Technician III. She is a recent graduate of NC State, having earned her Master’s in Biochemistry in December. She has a background in single stranded DNA plant viruses and plans to expand her scope of knowledge on cancer mechanisms through her work here. She plans to attend medical school in the future. Read more about her in our Lab Members section.
In February we said goodbye to our previous research technician – Brian Masters. Brian learned a great deal about long noncoding RNAs and anti-sense oligonucleotides. He is moving on to a job in the robust pharmaceutical and research industry around RTP. He will cultivate his skills in research there in preparation for grad school in the future.
In March we celebrated Vithi Patel as she accepted an internal medicine residency position in California. As an international medical graduate, Vithi came to Duke with the hopes of learning the science while also getting acquainted with the vastly different clinical environment in the U.S. Vithi spent her time in lab mastering her cell culture skills and exploring the world of p53. She also helped us get a head start on CRISPRi! We are thrilled for her journey and glad to have a friend in California.
The Linardic lab is ecstatic to currently support three talented undergraduate scientists, all of whom provide critical assistance in our research efforts.
Sam Weitzel is a rising sophomore at Duke who joined us in September 2021. She recently received an ALSF POST award and is studying new ways to use CRISPRi in RMS.
Aretha Gao is also a rising sophomore at Duke. She joined us in January 2022 and is learning new molecular biology techniques such as DNA isolation and reading and constructing plasmid maps.
Charlotte Pollack is a rising senior at the University of South Carolina, visiting this summer from an AMGEN fellowship. Charlotte is investigating pharmacologic methods to inhibit long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs).
Our team is now “firing on all cylinders” and working hard to assist and mentor these young scientists and provide them with the most enriching research experience possible!
We are excited to share news of two grants supporting Alex Kovach’s work on the Role of the macro lncRNA KCNQIOT1 in Embryonal Rhabdomyosarcoma Tumorigenesis: An Innovation award from Alex’s Lemonade Stand and an award from The Kate Amato Foundation. We are grateful for the support of these foundations to pursue this exciting project!
In addition we continue to work with collaborators from here at Duke (Counter lab; Wood Lab), MIT, the Broad Institute, and also Mass General on an NIH-funded U54 Center for the Fusion Oncoproteins in Childhood Cancer Consortium (FusOnC2). You can read more about the projects here.
Stay tuned for more information and updates as we begin to work on these projects.
Congratulations to Dr. Michael D. Deel who received an award from the V Foundation for Cancer Research in the amount of $200,000 for a study entitled “Investigating co-activator TAZ as a regulator of PAX3-FOXO1, cancer cell stemness, and chemoresistance in fusion-positive rhabdomyosarcoma.” Good work, Michael!
The Linardic Lab is grateful for the support of the Duke and Durham communities, and thrilled to announce that as a result of this support during our September 2018 Alex’s Million Mile campaign we have received a grant of $15, 021.00 from Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation! Thank you for continuing to believe in this research mission, and a special thanks to VWR, Tobacco Road Sports Cafe, and The Adam Dickinson Group at 501 Realty for their continued sponsorship.