2015 OSB Grants
Laureen Ojalvo, MD, PhD is a gynecologic oncology fellow on The Kelly Gynecologic Oncology Service at Johns Hopkins Hospital. She works under the mentorship of Leisha Emens, MD, PhD whose laboratory focuses on a better understanding of the immune microenvironment in cancer and novel ways in which to target it. Dr. Emens is the principle investigator on multiple immunotherapy clinical trials including those involving cancer vaccines and immune checkpoint molecule inhibitors and continues to use the clinic to inform laboratory research, and vice versa. Dr. Ojalvo has a longstanding interest in tumor associated macrophages (TAMs) and how these innate immune cells affect a cancer’s microenvironment and overall disease progression. Clinically, a high density of TAMs correlates with worse cancer prognosis in multiple cancers, including ovarian. TAMs are implicated in multiple processes to promote tumor progression, and recently shown to express checkpoint inhibitor molecules – molecules that attenuate an activated immune response to prevent tumor clearance by the adaptive immune system. Dr. Ojalvo’s proposed research will evaluate patterns of TAMs and checkpoint molecules in human ovarian cancer to better understand how TAMs contribute to the immune suppressed tumor microenvironment. Moreover, this work aims to inform clinical trials of checkpoint inhibitors in ovarian cancer to better understand how they work in this disease and how TAMs may be mediating their efficacy. We are thrilled to have awarded Dr. Ojalvo an Outside The Box Science Grant – congratulations!
Yohan Suryo Rahmanto, PhD is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Pathology at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. His interest in the field of cellular metabolism and experimental therapeutics has led him to investigate ovarian cancer metabolism in the context of platinum drug resistance. In recurrent ovarian tumors, platinum resistance is a major concern and is responsible for the high disease mortality. The aim of the current project is to investigate the role of NOTCH3 in the metabolism of platinum resistant ovarian cancer cells. Outcome of these studies will improve our understanding on the mechanisms involved in the development of platinum resistant ovarian cancers, and also help to develop new therapeutic strategies from the metabolic perspective to combat this devastating disease. Dr. Rahmanto thank you for applying and winning an Outside The Box Science Grant – congratulations and we are thrilled to see your outcomes!