Jill Bargonetti-Chavarria hosted a colloquium with renowned molecular biologist Arnold Levine earlier this month. This was the first CTBR colloquium to take place at the new Belfer Research Building, and was jointly sponsored with the WCMC-CTSC. Dr. Levin’s talk on The Evolution of Tumors from Cells with Inherited p53 Mutations in Humans and Mice was well attended with over 70 people in the audience. Following the event, Dr. Levine met with Hunter College students and faculty over lunch.
A world-renowned cancer biologist, Dr. Levine is best known for his 1979 discovery of the tumor suppressor gene p53, a molecule that inhibits tumor development. His group elucidated the functions of this gene and its role in viral mediated cancers, and his research has fueled the design of a new generation of anti-cancer therapies. Dr. Levine’s current research focuses on studying the relationship between p53 mutations and breast cancer stem cells. Using RNA microarrays, he identified the stem cell signatures of breast cancers with p53 mutations. These observations have been confirmed with several other cancers as well. He is currently developing a diagnostic tool to identify breast cancers with poor prognostic outcome. This may serve as a biomarker and help identify appropriate drug treatments for a specific tumor.