CSBC/PS-ON Junior Investigator Meeting

Members of the CSBC and PS-ON Junior Investigator meeting organizing committee.

The CSBC and PS-ON Junior Investigator meeting took place in Bethesda, MD on July 11-12. This meeting was organized by CSBC and PS-ON Junior Investigators who drafted the agenda, selected abstracts and invited the speakers.

Junior investigators enjoying the sights of Washington, D.C.

The meeting brought together senior graduate students through early stage faculty members who work at the interface of computation, physical sciences, and biology, as a way to build a community of interdisciplinary scientists facing similar career decisions and challenges.

Dr. Ellen Langer of Oregon Health & Science University and Dr. Jae Hun Kim of Harvard School of Public Health were chosen as poster awardees at the 2017 Cancer Systems Biology Consortium and Physical Sciences – Oncology Network Junior Investigator Meeting which was held on July 11-12, 2017 at the NIH Campus in Bethesda, MD.

Ellen Langer, PhD.

Title: Postdoctoral Researcher
Institution: Oregon Health & Science University
Research: Intratumoral heterogeneity resulting from cell-intrinsic and cell-extrinsic factors is a major cause of therapeutic resistance in breast cancer. Our current research is focused on understanding how targeted therapeutics affect differentiation state heterogeneity and plasticity in basal-like breast cancer, with the ultimate goal of designing combination therapies that effectively eliminate all tumor cell populations. We are also generating in vitro scaffold-free tumor tissue using a three-dimensional bioprinter system to assess the effects of stromal cells and cell-extrinsic factors on differentiation state heterogeneity and therapy-induced cancer cell state change.

Jae Hun Kim, PhD

Title: Research Scientist
Institution: Harvard School of Public Health
Research: Cancer cells most often invade neighboring tissues not as individual entities but as collective groups, e.g. protruding sheets, clusters or strands. How such cells initially get motile and translocate to distant sites while maintaining cell-cell contacts? This research suggests that cell unjamming, in which cells undergo a transition from a solid-like phase to a liquid-like phase that is signified by cell shape changes, provides a gateway that allows tumor cells to move.