Oliver Clarke, PhD
Assistant Professor of Physiology and Cellular Biophysics
New York, New York
Thyroid Hormone Effect and Metabolism
“Structure determination of mammalian thyroglobulin by cryoEM ”
Dr. Oliver Clarke started his scientific career in Australia, where he completed his PhD in membrane protein crystallography under the supervision of Dr. Jacqui Gulbis and Dr. Brian Smith at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in Parkville, Melbourne. His PhD resulted in the publication in Cell of a paper describing the structure of a bacterial potassium channel in multiple conformational states. In 2012, after graduating, Oliver moved to New York for his postdoctoral work in the laboratory of Dr. Wayne Hendrickson at Columbia University. During this time, Oliver learned the rapidly advancing technique of single particle cryogenic electron microscopy (cryoEM), and applied it to determine the structure of the ryanodine receptor of mammalian skeletal muscle, an intracellular calcium release channel which mediates coupling of nervous excitation to muscle contraction. The structure of the closed state of the channel was published in Nature in 2015, and the open state of the channel (with identification of bound activating ligands. Ca, ATP and caffeine) in Cell in 2016. Oliver joined the department of Anesthesiology (with a joint appointment in the department of Physiology) as an Assistant Professor in November 2017. His lab focuses on investigating the molecular mechanisms of physiological processes using structural techniques, with a strong emphasis on Ca release and signaling. Recently, he has become interested in the structural basis of thyroid hormone biogenesis, the subject of this proposal.
“New genetic determinants of thyroid dysfunction”
Dr. David Langlais is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Human Genetics at McGill University and Principal Investigator at the McGill University Genome Centre. Dr Langlais completed his Ph.D. with honours in Molecular Biology in 2011 under the supervision of Dr. Jacques Drouin at the Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal. His work revealed the complex transcriptional regulation at play in pituitary corticotrope cells that are central to the immuno‐neuroendocrine interface. Dr Langlais then pursued postdoctoral research in Dr Philippe Gros’ laboratory at McGill University where he studied the role of critical innate immunity transcription factors and participated in the characterization of new proteins involved in immune function and neuroinflammatory conditions, including cerebral malaria. Dr Langlais has received multiple awards and fellowships, including the Milstein Young Investigator Award form the International Cytokine and Interferon Society and the Top 10 Discoveries of 2018 by the journal Quebec Science. Positioned at the interface of the endocrine and immune systems, his current research is founded on functional genomics, bioinformatics, genome editing and molecular biology methods to explain the transcriptional mechanisms involved in normal and pathological inflammation, aiming to identify and validate novel therapeutic targets for inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.
Cheuk Wun Li, PhD
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
“Novel Targeted Immunotherapies for Autoimmune Thyroid Diseases”
Dr. Cheuk Wun Li is currently an Instructor in the Division of Endocrinology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. She completed her PhD training in Endocrinology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 2011. Afterwards, she joined Dr. Yaron Tomer’s lab at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (now relocated to Albert Einstein College of Medicine) as a post-doctoral fellow. After completing her post-doc training in 2016, she was appointed as a faculty, currently at the rank of Instructor. She is conducting research in the field of thyroid autoimmunity. Dr. Li’s main discoveries include the identification of compounds and peptides that can block the HLA pocket that is key to antigen presentation in autoimmune thyroiditis. By utilizing in vitro ELISA, cell-based assay and humanized mouse models, she identified a promising small molecule inhibitor, Cepharanthine that can potentially be developed into a therapeutic drug for autoimmune thyroiditis. Her career goal is to translate her mechanistic discoveries into novel therapeutic strategies for autoimmune thyroiditis.
Myriem Boufraqech, PhD
“Glutamine metabolism is a new therapeutic target in thyroid cancer”
Dr. Boufraqech obtained a Ph.D. degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology in the Laboratory of Thyroid Carcinogenesis of Cancer Center Gustave Roussy at the University of Paris-Sud XI in 2011 with Summa cum Laude. She was then trained as a postdoctoral fellow in Endocrine Oncology Branch of center for Cancer research (CCR), National cancer Institute (NCI), National institutes of health (NIH). with Dr. Electron Kebebew. In 2016 she was appointed as a research fellow in the same branch. Dr. Boufraqech has been steadily productive with a total of over 30 papers, many of which are original contributions to the field of endocrine oncology and were highly cited by peers. Dr. Boufraqech has received the American Thyroid Association fellow grant from 2013 to 2017. She also received the Endocrine Society Outstanding Abstract Award in 2014. Her work on anaplastic thyroid cancer progression has been recognized in 2014 and 2015 by the Fellows Award for Research Excellence (FARE) at the NIH, and was selected as one of the finalists of the five outstanding postdoctoral fellows of the National Cancer Institute in 2017. Dr. Boufraqech was highly rated by the Pharmacology committee of the NIH Earl Stadtman search at the NIH in 2016. The letters of recommendation highly praise Dr. Boufraqech scientific qualities, work habits, and intellectual and technical skills. She is also considered as an effective team player, a great mentor and well-regarded by her collaborators.
Dr. Boufraqech was appointed recently a as junior faculty at the NCI. Her research focuses on the molecular pathophysiology of aggressive thyroid cancer and the identification of novel effective targeted therapy in metastatic thyroid cancer.
Jennifer Wang, MD, ScM
University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
“Defining the Role of SWI/SNF Mutations in Anaplastic Thyroid Carcinoma”
Dr. Jennifer Rui Wang, M.D., Sc.M. is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Dr. Wang completed residency in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Toronto in Canada followed by fellowship in Advanced Head and Neck Surgical Oncology at MD Anderson. She received a Master of Science in Genetic Epidemiology from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and is currently completing her PhD. Dr. Wang is a surgeon-scientist with clinical and research interests focused on aggressive thyroid cancers. Specifically, her research focuses onJennifer Rui Wang, M.D., Sc.M. is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Dr. Wang completed residency in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Toronto in Canada followed by fellowship in Advanced Head and Neck Surgical Oncology at MD Anderson. She received a Master of Science in Genetic Epidemiology from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and is currently completing her PhD. Dr. Wang is a surgeon-scientist with clinical and research interests focused on aggressive thyroid cancers. Specifically, her research focuses on
Vivian Weiss, MD, PhD
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
“Immunologic Markers of Aggressive Thyroid Carcinoma”
Dr. Vivian Weiss is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Dr. Weiss attended Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD to obtain her M.D. and Ph.D. in immunology. During her Ph.D. training, Vivian received the American Association for Cancer Research Pre-doctoral Fellowship Award for her work in tumor immunology under the mentorship of Dr. Elizabeth Jaffee. After completing this training, she began the Vanderbilt University Pathology Residency Training Program for anatomic and clinical pathology, followed by a fellowship in cytopathology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. She is board certified in Anatomic Pathology, Clinical Pathology, and Cytopathology. Her clinical practice focuses on diagnosis of fine needle aspirations, particularly of the thyroid. She was the 2017 recipient of the American Society of Cytopathology Young Investigator Award for her work on the molecular and immunologic mechanisms of thyroid cancer. Vivian’s translation research laboratory focuses on characterizing the molecular alterations and tumor microenvironment of thyroid cancer in order to improve the current diagnostic algorithms and therapy for this disease.
MedStar Georgetown University Hospital
“Targeting Mitochondrial Cytochrome-C-Oxidase for The Treatment of MTC”
Dr. Athanasios Bikas graduated from the University of Athens Faculty of Medicine in 2012. His interest in the endocrine system was apparent from the early years of medical school. After graduation, he started working towards his PhD in Molecular Biology from the University of Athens. He pursued a post-graduate research fellowship in Thyroid Cancer under the supervision of Dr. Kenneth Burman, Dr. Leonard Wartofsky and Dr. Vasyl Vasko. He pursued both clinical and basic research projects. He has several first author publications in journals like Thyroid and JCEM. He has been awarded several awards regarding his work on a regional and national level. He then completed his medical residency at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital in 2019. He was honored with a Chief Medical Resident position and he is going to serve in that role until 07/2020. His future goals include a clinical and research fellowship in Endocrinology, and a physician-scientist position in the field of Thyroid Cancer.