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2011 Pilot Projects

The CTBR funded two pilot projects in 2012. The pilot project program funds researchers $100,000 per year for 2 years and is designed to develop fledgling ideas into long-term research programs sustained by traditional research awards.

Exploiting TGF-β signaling defects and gain-of-function p53 mutants in prostate cancer

PI: David Foster, Biology Department
Dr. Foster’s project investigates two novel concepts for prostate cancer cell survival: (1) cancer cells with defective TGF-β signaling can be selectively killed with rapamycin – a compound that inhibits mTOR – the mammalian target of rapamycin and (2) the role of p53 “gain-of-function” mutants in prostate cancer where p53 mutants are commonly over-expressed, which suggests that the p53 mutant protein may be driving the cancer as well. Dr. Foster's collaborators are Dr. Jill Bargonetti (Hunter College) and Yuan-Shan Zhu (Weill Cornell Medical College). Dr. Foster hired a postdoctoral fellow, Dr. Maria Frias, to work on this pilot project.

Mdm2 and Mutant p53 Molecular Mechanisms of African American Breast Cancer Disparities

PI: Jill Bargonetti, Biology Department
Dr. Bargonetti’s pilot project investigates if mutant p53, Mdm2, and sterol biosynthesis contribute to aggressive African American breast cancers. Dr. Bargonetti's collaborator is Dr. Hiroshi Matsui (Hunter College), and she hired a postdoctoral fellow, Dr. Nataly Shtraizent, to work on this pilot project. Dr. Bargonetti submitted a manuscript in the summer of 2012 based on the methods used during the work conducted in initial phase of this project.