UNC Lineberger’s 41st Annual Scientific Symposium to focus on signal transduction in cancer

UNC Lineberger's 41st Annual Scientific Symposium will focus on "Developmental Signal Transduction Pathways in Cancer.” The symposium will be held May 22-23 at the William and Ida Friday Center for Continuing Education in Chapel Hill.

UNC Lineberger’s 41st Annual Scientific Symposium to focus on signal transduction in cancer click to enlarge Ben Major, PhD, a UNC Lineberger member and associate professor in the UNC School of Medicine.
UNC Lineberger’s 41st Annual Scientific Symposium to focus on signal transduction in cancer click to enlarge Al Baldwin, PhD, is UNC Lineberger’s associate director for basic research and the William Rand Kenan Professor of Biology.

Scientists from some of the country’s top cancer research institutions will be speaking about the latest developments in signal transduction in cancer during the University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center’s 41stAnnual Scientific Symposium, to be held May 22-23 at the William and Ida Friday Center for Continuing Education.

Signal transduction is the way that cells sense, interpret and respond to information from their environment, said symposium co-organizer Ben Major, PhD, a UNC Lineberger member and associate professor in the UNC School of Medicine. Decades of research has revealed that many of the signaling pathways that cells use to relay information as humans develop are also key players in cancer.

“In this way, cancer is very much development gone wrong,” Major said.

New technologies, including whole genome sequencing, RNA and protein sequencing, genome editing, and high throughput imaging, have helped drive advances in the understanding of developmental signal transduction pathways and how they are altered in cancer. Together, Major said, they have helped contribute to a “technological and scientific discovery explosion” in this field of research.

“For the first time, we are beginning to look at everything in the cell at the same time—the DNA, RNA, proteins and their complex interactions. Importantly, these technologies are progressing to the point where we can watch in real-time how cancer mutations impact the cellular signal transduction pathways,” Major said. “Quite simply, we are learning more about cancer, and faster than ever before.”

The range of speakers at the symposium will offer unique perspectives on how signaling operates, or functions improperly, in different cancers, said Al Baldwin, PhD, UNC Lineberger’s associate director for basic research and the William Rand Kenan Professor of Biology.

In addition, he said that these studies may provide insights into new approaches for cancer therapy.

Speakers from UNC Lineberger include: Chad Pecot, MD, “Integrated Approaches to Uncover Metastatic Biology;” Neil Hayes, MD, “Somatic Alterations in Developmental Genes in Tumors of the Aerodigestive Tract,” Major, who will speak on “Mechanistic Studies of the KEAP1 Tumor Suppressor in Lung Cancer,” and Jennifer Webster-Cyriaque, DDS, PhD, “The Oral Microbiome: An Instigator of Euchromatin-mediated Tumor Viral Pathogenesis.”

The symposium will from 8:55 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 22, and from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. May 23. There is no cost to attend but there is a $16 cost per day for an optional lunch. Please register online. There will be on-site registration as well. For questions, contact Melissa Mack at emstroud@med.unc.edu.  

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