Adolfo Ferrando, MD, PhD Back To 2014 Winners

2014 Winners


In our laboratory we analyze the genetics of human leukemia to decipher fundamental mechanisms that can be exploited for the development of new therapies.

Our Pershing Square Sohn Prize project will develop new approaches to analyze the dark matter of the leukemia genome and decipher the hidden code of regulatory elements that orchestrate the activity of leukemia cancer genes.

Dr. Ferrando’s research laboratory at Columbia University in New York studies the genetics and mechanisms of T-cell lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL). Over the last years, Dr. Ferrando’s lab has analyzed the oncogenic function of NOTCH1 and the antileukemic properties of blocking NOTCH1 signaling. These studies have uncovered the role of NOTCH1 as a master regulator of leukemia cell growth. In addition his group has dissected the transcriptional regulatory circuits controlled by the TLX1 oncogene and identified numerous T-ALL tumor suppressor genes. Some of his most recent work has focused on the elucidation of novel signaling and genetic mechanisms driving chemotherapy resistance in T-ALL. Dr. Ferrando is Professor of Pediatrics and Pathology at Columbia University Medical Center and Director of the Lymphoid Development and Malignancy Program at the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center.

“Functional Dissection of Oncogenic Enhancers in T-cell Leukemia”

Adolfo Ferrando-actionFollowing on the completion of the Human Genome Project and using innovative sequencing tools researchers are rapidly annotating the complete repertoire of genetic alterations in cancer. However most of these lesions are located in genomic “dark matter” outside well annotated genes.

“Getting the Pershing Square Sohn Prize it is not only an honor but also an exciting opportunity to address new questions and highly innovative questions in our research.”

In this research project we will develop innovative new tools to analyze the function of critical as yet un-annotated genomic sequences controlling the activity of MYC, a major cancer driving gene. These studies will shed light on the function and mechanisms of cancer-associated “dark matter” regions in the human genome opening new venues for the development of targeted therapies in human cancer.

“Innovation is a new, unforeseen, fundamental advance in knowledge and technology. Innovation is the engine of true transformative progress.”