Even considering that he’s faced pro fighters while training in jiu-jitsu, prostate cancer is by far Dawid Nowak’s most formidable opponent. In the lab of Lloyd Trotman, he’s using an incredibly powerful new genetic engineering tool and an extremely sensitive sequencing technique to take prostate cancer down.
Photo: Nowak at his promotion to blue belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu in 2013. From left to right, Nick Safar, Nick Serra, Dawid Nowak, Mike Piccolomini, Matt Serra.
In a fight, strategy sometimes proves stronger than brute force. As a novice practicing Brazilian jiu-jitsu in a gym with pro fighters, Dawid Nowak has learned that being a big guy isn’t enough to take down an opponent who is small but incredibly shrewd. As a postdoc in prostate cancer researcher Lloyd Trotman’s lab, he faces a very small and extremely shrewd opponent.
“I always think in terms of strategies: what is your next move? You start to think about cancer as your opponent and try to predict its next mutation,” Nowak says.
Assistant Professor Camila dos Santos (left) and Senior Fellow Olga Anczuków-Camarda (right) get together with breast cancer survivor Joanne Marquardt (center) of the West Islip Breast Cancer Coalition earlier this fall to talk about breast cancer research. Dos Santos regularly meets with survivors to hear their perspectives on the problem of breast cancer.
Biology has always felt personal to Assistant Professor Camila dos Santos. Looking back on high school biology in her native Brazil, she remembers, “it was just so interesting to me that there was a field of research that makes you understand how your body works.”
Gaining a deeper understanding of how the body works remains central to her research today—a somewhat unusual perspective for a breast cancer researcher. Rather than studying bodies broken by breast cancer and working backward, she is studying bodies with breasts that are still working properly.
Breast cancer awareness is important, but it’s action that saves lives. Whether developing more accurate and affordable tests for patients or mapping out the treacherous landscape of breast cancer genetics, researchers at CSHL certainly aren’t putting the fight on pause even as the pink ribbons dissipate. Explore how they’re attacking breast cancer from an array of innovative angles.
Knowing the Neighborhood
Treating breast cancer isn’t just about battling “bad” cells. Part of the challenge is understanding how the “home” that cancer cells make can affect the course of the illness. Each patient, each tumor, is different. Mikala Egeblad’s lab at CSHL uses advanced imaging technologies to watch tumors interact with neighboring healthy cells (and drug-treated cells) in real-time.
See the video!
In time-lapse microscopy, myeloid cells (green) are shown infiltrating an area of massive cell death (red) in a mouse treated with the anti-cancer drug doxorubicin.
After we posted a blog entry celebrating the 25th anniversary of the launch of the Human Genome Project (HGP), Nancy Craig, a professor emerita in the Department of Molecular Biology & Genetics at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, sent in a question that we thought the rest of you Lab Dish readers might be interested in: Who are the other scientists in the photo from the 1989 Banbury meeting? And why don’t we ever hear about the women?!
Left to right: John F. Nash , Jr., Mary-Claire King, Evelyn Lauder, and Bruce Stillman. King, Nash, and Lauder were each awarded a Double Helix Medal in 2010. This year will be the 10th Double Helix Medal Dinner, held at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.
By the 1970s, the notion that breast cancer “runs in the family” had been around for a long time. Yet the question of precisely how family history might influence breast cancer risk was still wide open. Mary-Claire King, a human geneticist who turned her attention to the disease during that decade, reacted to the challenge of untangling breast cancer’s causes by asking: “Can I follow chromosomes?”
One of the historic meetings held at CSHL—this one in 1989—at which participants sketched out plans for what became the Human Genome Project. James Watson can be seen, top row, center; Francis Collins is third from the left in the same row.
When a group of ambitious biologists embarked on a mission to sequence all three billion pairs of ‘letters’ in the human genome on October 1, 1990, they faced enormous skepticism. Among the leaders of the effort was James Watson, co-discoverer of the double-helical structure of DNA and Director of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory at the time.
In this edition of LabDish we welcome Stephanie de Lesseps, summer intern in the Development office at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Stephanie spearheaded a successful Color Run at The Hotchkiss School to benefit autism research and awareness. There were 140 participants in the run, and together they raised nearly $10,000. (view gallery below)
Strolling along the shore of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory at low tide, you might notice red and blue “crab condos.” They are part of a field experiment by neighboring Long Island University (LIU) Post and Adelphi University researchers that will help understand how Long Island’s mud crab population is being impacted by two invaders – a body snatching parasite and a competitor species called the Asian shorecrab.
Dr. April Blakeslee
Environmental and marine studies are not part of the CSHL research portfolio, but the Lab is happy to donate our shore to this important work that is revealing the potential for cascading effects throughout our local ecosystem. Continue reading →
In this edition of LabDish, we feature the thought-provoking remarks of Dr. Jack Walleshauser, on the occasion of his graduation from the Watson School of Biological Sciences on April 19. That day, Jack shared his passion for science and his desire to see scientists communicate more readily with the public.
As a U.S. Army veteran on active duty from 2002-2006, with two years in Iraq during the Iraq war, and the father of three children with his wife of 10 years, Brandy, Jack offers unique perspective. Continue reading →