Congratulations to Anna for receiving a Pedals for Pediatrics Award
Thank you to Pedals for Pediatrics for awarding Anna Borgenvik a grant to support her efforts to identify new therapeutic targets for pediatric gliomas – the most common group of brain tumors to occur in children.
Welcome to Daren and Alex who join our Research Associate Team
We are so excited to welcome Daren Zhang and Alex Zhang as the newest members of the Bando Lab Research Associate Team!
Alex received his BS in Biology and a minor in business in 2023 from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. While at Brandeis, he worked in Dr. Avi Rodal’s lab and studied the effects of valency and the cellular environment on liquid-liquid phase separation using Drosophilia endocytic proteins. In the Bando Lab, Alex is working to identify novel genetic dependencies in pediatric low-grade gliomas, and to optimize efficacy of small-molecule MAPK pathway inhibitors across pediatric gliomas.
Daren was born in New York and moved to Hong Kong when he was five, where he lived for 12 years. In 2019, he moved to Atlanta, GA to attend Emory University, where he received his BS in Biology with a minor in Anthropology (’23). At Emory, Daren worked in Dr. Yang’s lab, where he investigated ferroptosis and neurineural invasion in pancreatic cancer cell lines. In the Bando Lab, Daren is studying the cellular consequences associated with TP53 reactivation in Diffuse Midline Gliomas, with the goal of identifying therapeutic strategies.
Training the next generation of scientists
The Bando Lab is very passionate about training and mentoring the next generation of physicians and scientists. This year, we had two students join us. Angele Deleon received a Post Award from the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation to contribute to our efforts focused on targeting FGFR alterations in gliomas. Emma Bateman completed her second year with our team as a student in the DF/HCC Cure Program, focusing her efforts on studying the mechanisms through which FOXR2 expression contributes to formation of Diffuse Midline Gliomas. We look forward to seeing everything that Angela and Emma will continue to achieve!
Welcome to Lilia Olmstead
We are excited to welcome Lilia Olmstead to our team as a Bando Lab Graduate Student! Lilia is enrolled in the Harvard BBS Program, and has joined the Bando Lab for her dissertation project. Lilia will be developing and applying computational approaches to study somatic alterations that drive infant brain tumors. Lilia was born and raised in El Paso, Texas. She received her Bachelors degree in Cellular and Molecular Biochemistry from the University of Texas in El Paso in 2021. During her time at UT El Paso, she worked on HIV-1 and Flaviviruses in Dr. Mauel Llano’s Lab. Lilia was a MARC Scholar and completed her undergraduate thesis characterizing proteins implicated in viral replication. Welcome to the team!
Jared Collins joins the Bando Lab
Welcome to Jared Collins, our newest computational biologist! Jared has joined the Bandopadhayay Lab to spearhead a number of projects, including the development of methods to analyze glioma heterogeneity through the use of spatial transcriptomics (under the co-mentorship of Rameen Beroukhim). Jared was born and raised in Atlanta, GA where he received his BS and MS in Biology from the Georgia Institute of Technology (’23). During his time at Georgia Tech, Jared worked in the lab of Greg Gibson, where he studied the etiology of SLE and Crohn’s Disease. For his Master thesis, Jared explored coherence and incoherence between GWAS and eQTL in Crohn’s Disease. Jared is excited to live in Boston and join the Bandopadhayay Lab’s mission to find better treatments for children with brain tumors.
Jess Tsai receives a St. Baldricks Scholar Award
Congratulations to Jess for receiving a St. Baldrick’s Scholar Award to continue her work focused on understanding how FOXR2 expression leads to the growth of Diffuse Midline Gliomas. We are very proud of Jess – and grateful to the St. Baldrick’s community for supporting this work and Jess’s ongoing career development as a physician and scientist dedicated to finding better treatments for children with brain tumors.
Developing methods for genome-scale genetic perturbation assays in neurosphere models
The Bando Lab, in collaboration with our wonderful friends in the Genetic Perturbation Platform at the Broad Institute, have worked closely for several years to develop methods to perform genome-scale CRISPR-cas9, ORF over-expression and base-editing screens in primary and brain tumor neurosphere models. We are excited to share our protocol with the community so that others can also apply these methods to accelerate research focused on brain tumors. Our manuscript was published in Nature Protocols and can be found here.
Congratulations and Farewell to Adam
It is with very mixed feelings that we celebrate Adam and bid him farewell. Adam is part of the founding members of the Bando Lab, and has been an integral member of our team over the last five years. A very talented scientist who can claim an unique skill-set of chemistry, functional genomics and computational biology, Adam has led our efforts to understand dependencies associated with loss of MMR proteins in gliomas, in addition to understanding how medulloblastomas acquire resistance to BET-bromodomain inhibition. Adam is now headed off to his next adventure at Kronos Bio, and we are so very proud of him. Looking forward to all that Adam will continue to achieve in his career ahead.
The Bando Lab receives a Bridge Award
We are excited to receive a Bridge Award from The Bridge Project of the Koch Institute and Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center, along with the Straehla and Hammond Labs of MIT, and Clinical Director of Pediatric Neuro-Oncology at DFCI, Dr. Susan Chi. This grant will allow us to identify strategies that can help treatments for children with Diffuse Midline Gliomas, in addition to those afflicted with infant brain cancers.
Congratulations and Farewell to Dana and Maddie
It is with a lot of pride that we congratulate and farewell Dana and Maddie, our graduating team of Research Assistants for 2023. Dana will by flying off to start medical school at Temple University, while Maddie will spend a year in the lab of Anton Hennsen in Berlin as a Fulbright Scholar, before starting graduate school at UCLA. We will miss both Dana and Maddie and thank them for all that they have contributed to our team and science – and look forward to seeing all that they will continue to achieve!
Maddie receives the Fulbright Scholar Award
Congratulations to Maddie Chacon who was been awarded a 2023 Fulbright Scholar Award. As a Fulbright Scholar, Maddie will continue her research focused on pediatric cancers, in Berlin. Maddie will work with Dr. Anton Henssen and team to study the role of extrachromosomal amplifications in driving tumor formation. We are very proud of Maddie and look forward to her future successes ahead.
The 2nd Joint Bando-Beroukhim-Jabado-Kleinman-Ligon Lab Retreat
We believe that the path to the most rapid discoveries for our children with brain tumors is team science. The Bando Lab joined forces with the Beroukhim and Ligon Labs at DFCI to host our friends and collaborators from McGill University in the Jabado and Kleinman Labs on Cape Cod. We spent three days presenting ideas and scientific data, in addition to time for team building and brainstorming the next steps to try and find those treatments that are so desperately needed for our patients. We have a lot of work to do to find these answers but are excited to work with the inspirational team from McGill on our common mission for our children who are diagnosed with brain tumors.
Welcome to our newest Graduate Student – Nico Poux
We are thrilled to welcome Nico Poux to our team as the newest Bando Lab Graduate Student! A member of the Harvard-MIT MD-PhD and BBS PhD Programs, Nico joins our team to study histone mutations that define Diffuse Midline Glioma formation, and to use novel genetic perturbation approaches to dissect the mechanisms through which co-occurring driver alterations contribute to gliomagenesis. As a leukemia survivor, Nico developed an early interest in cancer biology. He received his BS in Biology from Stanford in 2019 and did his undergraduate research in Irving Weissman’s lab, developing fluorescence-based tools for lineage tracing. Nico joined the MIT-Harvard MD/PhD program in 2020 to pursue a career in Pediatric Oncology. Nico is excited to leverage molecular biology techniques to better understand mechanisms of pediatric brain tumor growth and maintenance in the Bando Lab.
Recurrent somatic rearrangements and amplifications in ALK are therapeutic targets in congenital and adult gliomas
Identifying and characterizing genetic events in brain tumors that can represent therapeutic targets is essential for precision medicine approaches. In collaboration with the Ligon and Beroukhim Labs, we were excited to show that alterations in a gene called ALK are driver events in gliomas found in both babies and adult patients, and can be targeted with clinically available ALK inhibitors. This work was published in Clinical Cancer Research. Congratulations to Anne-Florence Blandin in the Ligon Lab for leading this project, and for all members across the Bando, Ligon and Beroukhim Labs who contributed to this work.
Jens Maile joins the Bando Lab
A massive welcome to Jens Maile who has joined our team as a graduate student focused on pediatric gliomas. Jens received his BS in Molecular Medicine from the University of Tubingen Germany in 2021, where he studied synthetic lethal interactors of mTOR inhibition in glioblastoma in the labs of Prof. Ghazaleh Tabatabai and Dr. Daniel Merk. As part of his bachelor’s program, he joined the group of Prof. Tony Kourzarides at the University of Cambridge in 2019 as a visiting undergraduate student to investigate the role and pharmacological inhibition of histone acetyl transferases in leukemia. Jens then moved to Heidelberg in 2021 to enroll in the master’s program in Cancer Biology at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ). Jens has joined our team as a visiting graduate student to understand how distinct histone mutations influence gliomagenesis and also aims to exploit the dependence of pLGGs on the MAPK pathway. He is co-mentored by Dr. David Jones at the DKFZ.
Welcome to April Apfelbaum
We are very excited to welcome April Apfelbaum to our team as our newest Postdoctoral Fellow. April received her BS in Cellular and Molecular Biology from Beloit College in 2017, where she worked in the lab of Dr. Amy Briggs studying the role of fpgs genes in Arabidopsis thaliana. She then obtained her the PhD from Cancer Biology PhD program at the University of Michigan in 2022. Working under the mentorship of Dr. Beth Lawlor, April focused on understanding how hijacking of normal developmental pathways lead to heterogeneity and cell state plasticity in Ewing sarcoma. April is working on understanding the mechanisms and relationships of driver mutations commonly found in pediatric brain tumors in the hopes of developing new therapeutic strategies for these tumors.
Jess Tsai receives the 2022 Eric S. Lander Award in Scientific Excellence
We are so proud of Jess Tsai who was awarded the 2022 Eric S. Lander Award in Scientific Excellence at the 18th Annual Broad Institute Retreat. Jess received this award in recognition of her outstanding achievements in science, and for her passionate and tireless work in advocating to make science accessible for all. The award ceremony was even more special as Dr. Lander was present as Jess received her award. Congratulations to Jess!
Anna receives a Helen Gurley Brown Fellowship
Congratulations to Anna who was selected as a Helen Gurley Brown Fellow within the Helen Gurley Brown Presidential Initiative at DFCI. This award will support Anna’s efforts to dissect the mechanisms through which pediatric gliomas form, and to identify strategies to increase the effectiveness of targeted inhibitors. We are very excited that Anna has received this fellowship which will also support her in career development and networking initiatives as Anna continues on her path towards becoming an independent scientist with her own lab focused on childhood brain tumors. Thank you to the HGB Initiative for your support of our work.
The 2nd Joint DFCI-Everest Retreat on Pediatric Low-Grade Gliomas.
We believe that collaboration is the key to accelerate discoveries that stand to help children with brain tumors. After two years on zoom, we were thrilled to host scientists from the Everest in the Alps Pediatric Low-Grade Glioma Program in the second combined DFCI-Everest retreat, spanning close to 90 researchers from DFCI and across Germany and the UK. The team spent two days sharing ideas and data focused on Pediatric Low-Grade Gliomas, and brainstorming further collaborations between the teams. Our families who spearhead research focused on pLGGs presented both teams with mountaineering helmets with our logos and the words ‘One Team – One Dream’, which all investigators signed. These helmets, one housed at DFCI and the second at the DKFZ in Heidelberg, Germany, provide ongoing inspiration to work as hard as we can to find the answers for thousands of children who desperately need them.
Mimi receives the Harvard/MIT MD-PhD Advisor of the Year Award.
Mentoring the next generation of physicians and scientists is something that everyone in the Bando Lab holds close to their hearts. Mimi was humbled and honored to receive this years Harvard/MIT MD-PhD Advisor of the Year Award. We are so excited to see how the next generation is going to change the world!
The V Foundation Translational Research Award
We are very excited and grateful to receive a V Foundation Translational Award to support our work to study FGFR alterations as therapeutic targets in pediatric gliomas. With this support, we hope to understand how the different FGFR mutations help gliomas grow, with the overall goal of find strategies to target them in precision medicine approaches. A massive thank you to The V Foundation for your incredible support.
Anna Borgenvik joins the Bando Lab
We are so excited to welcome Anna Borgenvik to the Bando Lab team as our most recent postdoctoral fellow. Anna developed a fascination for cancer biology while working towards her bachelor’s degree at Lund University, Sweden. For her Master’s studies, she moved to Uppsala and finished her MSc in Medicine in 2014 after spending a semester in Dr. Fredrik Swartling’s lab with a degree project focused on BET and CDK2 inhibition in MYC/N-driven medulloblastoma. She immediately transitioned into a PhD program, still working with Dr. Swartling to continue her work on mouse models and medulloblastoma treatments. In October 2021, Anna defended her PhD thesis (and Mimi had the honor of being her faculty opponent!!). Mimi was very impressed with Anna’s Phd and was delighted when Anna moved to Boston to continue her career as a scientist focused on pediatric neuro-oncology. Anna hopes to make a difference for the young patients affected by this diverse group of devastating diseases. In the Bandopadhayay Lab, Anna will be expanding her skills to apply genomic approaches to understand the mechanisms through which gliomas develop, and to develop strategies to overcome therapeutic resistance.
Congratulations to John Prensner!
Congratulations to John Prensner, a postdoctoral fellow in Todd Golub’s lab at the Broad Institute, who is co-mentored by Mimi and is a close affiliate of all Bando Lab members, on his recent appointment as an Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan. John will initiate his own research team in 2023 and will also serve as a clinical Pediatric Neuro-Oncologist. It has been a big month for John who is also celebrating the recent funding of his NCI K08 Award. We are so proud of John, and are looking forward to working with John and his team! We have no doubts that the Prensner Lab is going to make exciting discoveries that will help us understand how pediatric brain tumors form.
Welcoming our new Research Associate team!
We are thrilled to welcome Marissa Coppola, Seung Hyun (Riley) Choi, Sher Bahadur and Olivia Blumenshine as our new Research Associate team. All four new lab members have had a tremendous start to their time with us, very quickly learning new methods and skills. Marissa, Riley, Sher and Olivia are working close with the lab to study multiple different childhood brain tumors, focusing on the mechanisms through which they arise with the goal of helping develop more effective treatments for children diagnosed with them.
Mentoring the next generation of physicians and scientists
The Bando Lab has had a busy and exciting summer mentoring our 2022 summer students – Annarah Charles, Christina Bednarzh, Emma Bateman and TJ Ragnoni – as they worked with us to gain experience as pediatric cancer researchers. We were so impressed by all of the students as they contributed to our projects. A special congratulations to Annarah and Emma who received fellowships to work with us – Annarah received a Post Award from the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and Emma participated as a YES for CURE fellow through the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center. A thank you to all of the Bando Lab members for mentoring this amazing cohort of students. The future is very bright with the next generation of researchers coming through the ranks and we are excited to see what all of our students will achieve!
(Thank you to Leslie for her photography skills and taking these headshots!)
FOXR2 is a pan-cancer oncogene that activates ETS transcriptional circuits across cancers, including Diffuse Midline Gliomas
Understanding the genes and pathways with which histone mutations cooperate to induce Pediatric high-grade gliomas, including Diffuse Midline Gliomas, is essential in helping us work out how to target these tumors more effectively. Working in collaboration with the Phoenix Lab at the University of Cincinnati and the Jones Lab at the German Cancer Research Institute, the Bando Lab found that up to 10% of all Diffuse Midline Gliomas activate a transcription factor called FOXR2. While FOXR2 has been shown to help other tumors form, we were surprised to find that it is activated in at least 70% of pediatric and adult cancer lineages. FOXR2-expressing cancers require FOXR2 to keep growing and expression of FOXR2 helps tumors form. We also found that FOXR2 cooperates with at least two other families of transcription factors (MYC and ETS) to help tumors grow. Our work was published in Cancer Research. Congratulations to Jess Tsai for leading this work across many different labs, and to all lab members who contributed. More details can be found in the Broad Institute Blog.
The role of structural variants in driving pediatric high-grade gliomas, including Diffuse Midline Gliomas
While the single nucleotide variants that drive formation of pediatric high-grade gliomas and diffuse midline gliomas have been well characterized, the contribution of structural variants, particularly those affecting the non-coding genome was unknown. To address this, the Bando Lab, working in collaboration with the Beroukhim and Ligon labs, assembled the largest cohort of whole-genome sequences of pHGGs, including Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma samples collected on the DIPG-BATs trial. Our findings showed that 10% of all DMGs harbor a tandem duplication centered on the lncRNA CCDC26, close to enhancers that activate MYC. We also found different SV signatures in tumors that harbor different histone mutations, providing clues into the different mechanisms that drive glioma formation. Our findings were published in Nature Cancer. Congratulations to Frank Dubois for leading this work, many members of the Bando, Beroukhim and Ligon Labs, and our wonderful group of collaborators at DFCI, Broad and beyond. More details can be found on the Dana-Farber blog here.
The Bando Lab goes to ISPNO 2022
The Bando Lab was very excited to attend ISPNO 2022 in Hamburg to share our science and brainstorm in person with our collaborators! It was a busy week with the group presenting several talks and posters. These include:
1. Genetic dependencies in MYB/MYBL1-driven pediatric low-grade glioma models. Platform presentation by Jill Jones.
2. Understanding the transcriptional hetogeneity of pediatric low-grade gliomas and its implication for tumor pathophysiology. Platform presentation by Michelle Boisvert.
3. The influence of different FGFR1 alterations in pediatric low-grade glioma tumor biology and targeted therapy response. Platform presentation by Eric Morin.
4. Structural variants shape driver combinations and outcomes in pediatric high-grade glioma. Platform presentation by Mimi Bandopadhayay.
5. Elucidating the role of long non-coding RNAs in pediatric high-grade gliomas. Platform presentation by Jessica Tsai.
6. Characterizing the landscape of structural variants in adamantinomatous craniopharyngioma. Poster presentation by Danny Jomaa.
7. FOXR2 is an oncogenic driver across pediatric and adult tumors. Poster presentation by Jessica Tsai.
8. p53 pathway reactivation as a therapeutic strategy in diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma. Poster presentation by Leslie Lupien.
9. Uncovering therapeutic vulnerabilities in mismatch repair-deficient gliomas. Poster presentation by Adam Boynton.
10. Integrated biologic, radiologic and clinical analysis of pediatric low-grade gliomas during and after targeted therapy treatment. Poster presentation by Jessica Tsai.
11. Identifying hidden drivers of low-grade glioma tumor growth. Poster presentation by Sean Misek.
12. Lipid metabolism as a therapeutic vulnerability in BET inhibitor-resistant medulloblastoma. Poster presentation by Leslie Lupien.
13. Transcriptional complexes as resistance drivers to BET-inhibition. Poster presentation by Adam Boynton.
Congratulations and Farewell to Rushil, Jeromy, Kevin and Dayle
Its an emotional few weeks as we congratulate and farewell our 2022 graduating class of Research Assistants. Kevin, Jeromy, Rushil and Dayle all joined our team during the tail end of the COVID lock down in 2020 and were trained and worked in the lab in ‘COVID shifts’ for a full year. But that didn’t stop them from achieving amazing things! They have been invaluable in driving our research forward, never forgetting about the children with brain tumors that desperately need better treatment. We will miss each of them but are very excited for their paths forward as they still have a lot of contributions to make as budding physicians and scientists. We wish them well as they start their further studies in medical school (Kevin at Kaiser Permanente Bernard J.Tyson School of Medicine and Rushil at Zucker School of Medicine – Hofstra University) and MD-PhD Programs (Dayle at Vanderbilt School of Medicine and Jeromy at UMass Chan Medical School). We are so proud of you!
Congratulations to Maddie!
Congratulations to Maddie for receiving a Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center ‘Talent Development’ Award. This award will provide support for Maddie as she works with Leslie to optimize strategies to target MYC-amplified medulloblastoma. In addition, the award will support Maddie in her career development in STEM. Well done, Maddie!
Characterizing the role of PPM1D mutations in the formation of Diffuse Midline Gliomas.
PPM1D mutations are found in more than 10% of all Diffuse Midline Gliomas. The Bando Lab worked in collaboration with the Phoenix Lab at the University of Cincinnati to evaluate the mechanisms through which these mutations enhance glioma formation, and to identify therapeutic vulnerabilities associated with them. Our findings were published in Nature Communications, and featured in this Broad Institute blog. Congratulations to Prasidda, Zach, Sophie and many members of the Bando Lab and our wonderful group of collaborators at DFCI, Broad and beyond!
Welcome to Adam, our newest postdoctoral fellow!
We are thrilled to welcome Adam Kebede as the newest Bando Lab postdoctoral fellow. Adam brings a wealth of prior experience in epigenetics, having completed his PhD under the mentorship of Dr. Robert Schneider. Adam will be studying the mechanisms through which histone mutations enhance formation of pediatric high-grade gliomas. He is also interested in studying evolution of pediatric low-grade gliomas, with the goal of optimizing the use of targeted inhibitors for children diagnosed with these tumors.
The Bando Lab receives the Broad Institute Escape Velocity Award.
We are very excited and grateful to receive the Broad Institute Escape Velocity Award. This award will support us in our efforts to perform high risk and transformative science to help spearhead discoveries with the goal of improving treatments for children with brain tumors.
Liquid biopsies and childhood brain tumors
The diagnosis and genomic profiling of childhood brain tumors requires neurosurgery to obtain biopsies. In collaboration with the Beroukhim and Adalsteinsson Labs, Dr. Karen Wright and many other colleagues, we evaluated whether liquid biopsies can be used reliably as a non-invasive method of diagnosis. However, we found that significant challenges are associated with the detection of ‘circulating tumor DNA’ in children with brain tumors. Our findings were published in Neuro-Oncology.
We are very excited to welcome John Jeang to our team as our Computational Scientist. John earned his B.S in Physics. For his senior clinic project, John worked with HRL Laboratories to create an algorithm for electrostatically tuning quantum dots using neural networks for quantum computers. Before joining our team, John worked as a high frequency trader and is now very excited to use his skills to help our mission to find better treatments for children with brain tumors.
Congratulations to J’ya
We are so very proud of J’ya Hunter, our undergraduate student who has been working with us over the last year. J’ya is one of the inaugural recipients of the Society of Neuro-Oncology Diversity Travel Scholarships and attended her first SNO meeting where she was very excited to hear about the latest updates in brain tumor research from speakers from all over the world. Thank you to SNO for this wonderful opportunity for J’ya…..we are very excited for all the wonderful things that J’ya will achieve as she continues with her training.
The Bando Lab receives an ALSF A Award
Thank you to the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation for awarding Mimi and the Bando Lab the ALSF A Award. This award will help us study the mechanisms through which histone mutations enhance formation of pediatric high-grade gliomas and Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Gliomas. We are thrilled to be part of the ALSF family!
Danny joins the Bando Lab
We are thrilled to welcome Danny Jomaa as the newest member of the Bando Lab! Having recently finished his third year of medical training at Queen’s University in Canada, Danny has moved to Boston to complete a Masters of Biomedical Informatics at Harvard University. Danny will be applying computational approaches to characterize the genetic landscape of pediatric brain tumors, including craniopharyngiomas. Danny will be co-mentored by Dr. Rameen Beroukhim.
Leslie receives a Pedals For Pediatrics Award
We are very grateful to the ‘Pedal For Pediatrics’ Pan Mass Challenge Team who recently awarded Leslie Lupien a research grant to study metabolic vulnerabilities in medulloblastoma. Congratulations Leslie!
Welcome to Dana!
A big welcome to Dana Novikov who has joined our team as a Research Associate. Dana recently graduated from UPenn and we are thrilled that she has chosen to join our team to contribute to efforts to better understand pediatric brain tumors. Dana will be spearheading efforts to apply single-cell and spatial methodologies to evaluate cellular heterogeneity and cell-cell interactions across gliomas.
Farewell to Sophie and Prasidda
It is with mixed emotions that we farewell our dynamic duo – Sophie and Prasidda – as they head off to their next adventures. Prasidda was one of the founding members of the lab and we have loved watching him grow from a rotating student to Dr. Khadka! Sophie joined our lab two years ago as part of our superstar Research Assistant team and quickly showed us that she is a talented scientist and wonderful team member. We wish you both the best as you start the next chapter of your academic careers – Prasidda as a medical student at UCLA, and Sophie as a graduate student at George Washington University.
We are so excited to welcome Maddie Chacon to our team as a Research Assistant. Maddie is a talented scientist and a recent graduate of Brandeis University. She will be contributing to our efforts to understand how pediatric brain tumors become resistance to cancer therapeutics. We are thrilled to have Maddie join the Bando Lab!
ChadTough Defeat Foundation ‘Game Changer’ Grant
The Bando and Phoenix labs are grateful to the ChadTough Defeat Foundation for awarding us a Game Changer Grant. This award will support our efforts to understand how DIPGs activate oncogenes that drive tumor formation to help us identify ways in which we can therapeutically overcome them.
Jess Tsai receives a Young Investigator Award from the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation
Thank you to the ALSF for awarding Jess Tsai a Young Investigator Award for her efforts to identify new therapeutic targets for pediatric high grade gliomas. We are excited to be part of the ASLF community as we work on our common goals of finding better treatment for children with brain tumors.
Congratulations to Prasidda
Prasidda became the first Bando Lab graduate student to defend their PhD thesis this week, officially becoming Dr. Khadka! We have loved watching Prasidda, a founding member of our lab, grow from a rotating student to a fully fledged scientist over the last four years. We are very proud of him and cannot wait to see all of the wonderful things that he will achieve in his future career. Prasidda – we have no doubt that you have what it takes to change the world!
The Bando Lab welcomes J’ya as our newest lab member
We are thrilled to welcome J’ya Hunter to the Bando Lab family. J’ya will be working with our team as an undergraduate researcher and will study how pediatric brain tumors regulate transcription factors such as MYC to drive tumor growth. J’ya is interested in learning about pediatric cancers and has future goals of becoming a pediatric surgeon.
American Academy of Neurology ‘Neuro-Oncology Investigator Award’
Mimi was honored to received the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) Neuro-Oncology Investigator Award on behalf of the work completed by everyone in the lab. Thank you to AAN for recognizing our efforts as we continue on our mission to find more effective and less toxic treatments for every child diagnosed with a brain tumor. There is so much to do, but we are united in our determination to work as hard as we can until we get there. More details can be found here.
Jess Tsai awarded the St. Baldrick’s Fellowship Award
We are very excited to announce that Jess Tsai has been awarded the 2021 St. Baldrick’s Fellowship Award for her efforts to understand how the FOXR2 transcription factor contributes to formation of high-grade gliomas so that we can develop ways to therapeutically target FOXR2. Thank you to the St. Baldricks Foundation for your support! Further details of Jess’s award can be found here.
Leslie Lupien awarded a NCI F32 Postdoctoral Fellowship
We are so proud of Leslie Lupien who has been awarded a NCI Ruth L. Kirchstein F32 Postdoctoral Fellowship Award to study mechanisms through which pediatric brain tumors exhibit resistance to cancer therapeutics. This is an amazing achievement, especially since Leslie joined the lab during the COVID19 lockdown last year. Congratulations Leslie – we are excited to see this project unfold!
The Bando Lab receives a NCI R37 Merit Award
The Bando Lab is excited to receive a R37 Merit Award from the NCI to support our efforts to find better treatments for children with brain tumors. We are on a mission – and will not stop – until we can look every family in the eye and tell them we have safe and effective treatment options for their child.
The Bando Lab virtually ‘attends’ ISPNO 2020
The Bando lab is excited to participate in The 19th International Symposium on Pediatric Neuro-Oncology, which has been organized by our colleagues in Japan. Although we would have loved to have seen our friends from the international pediatric brain tumor community in person, we are still thrilled to be able to share our research findings and brainstorm with colleagues to help advance treatments for children with brain tumors.
Our team will present the following abstracts and presentations during the meeting:
Dissecting the oncogenic role of FOXR2 in Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma. Jessica Tsai
The Landscape of genomic alterations in adamantinomatous craniopharyngioma. Prasidda Khadka
Characterizing the role of PPM1D mutations in the pathogenesis of Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma. Prasidda Khadka
Functional genomic approaches to identify therapeutic targets in MYB and MYBL1 expressing pediatric low-grade glioma. Alexandra (Larisa) Condurat
Structural variant drivers in pediatric high-grade glioma. Frank Dubois
Uncovering therapeutic vulnerabilities in mismatch repair-deficient gliomas. Adam Boynton
Jess Tsai named a DFCI Helen Gurley Brown Fellow
Congratulations to Jess, who was named a Fellow of the DFCI Helen Gurley Brown Presidential Initiative, along with mentor Mimi. This initiative will support Jess as she studies the mechanisms through which pediatric high-grade gliomas hijack MYC-activation pathways to make the tumors grow. Jess and Mimi are both also excited to participate in the broader mentorship, leadership development and networking program associated with this initiative aimed to foster careers of women scientists in academia. Many thanks to the Pussycat Foundation for supporting this exciting program at DFCI.
CloneSifter: A selectable barcoding library
We are proud to present CloneSifter, a selectable barcoding library that allows tracking of lineages of cells through bottlenecks using methods that can be coupled with single-cell RNA-sequencing, with their subsequent retrieval from pre-treatment pools. Thanks to our collaborators in the Blainey, Beroukhim and Johannessen labs, and the Broad Institute SPARC grant that provided funding to generate this technology. More details about CloneSifter can be found in our publication in BMC Biology.
Larisa Condurat receives the ‘Friends of DFCI’ Award
We are thrilled to announce that Larisa Condurat is a recipient of the 2020 ‘Friends of DFCI’ Award. This grant will support Larisa’s efforts to understand the heterogeneity of pediatric gliomas and will allow our lab to purchase state of the art equipment to allow single cell profiling of glioma cells. Congratulations Larisa!
The Brain Tumor Charity Webinar
Mimi had the pleasure of joining our wonderful friend and collaborator, Dr. David Jones, Leader of the Glioma Research Program at the German Cancer Research Institute to present a webinar on pediatric low-grade gliomas for pediatric brain tumor researchers, organized by The Brain Tumor Charity. A recording of the webinar can be found here.
Welcome to Michelle
We are excited to welcome Michelle Boisvert as the newest member of the Bando Lab! Michelle, a graduate student in Harvard’s Biological and Biomedical Sciences PhD Program, rotated with the lab earlier this year and has chosen to join the team to complete her thesis project. Michelle will be focused on applying computational approaches to study the heterogeneity of pediatric brain tumors and will be co-mentored by Dr. Beroukhim.
We are thrilled to have Michelle join our team!
Prayers from Maria Foundation ‘Abby Streszoff Memorial Collaboration Award’
The Bando Lab and our collaborators in the Phoenix Laboratory at the University of Cincinnati are honored and thrilled to receive the ‘Abby Streszoff Memorial Collaboration Award’ from the Prayers from Maria Foundation. This award will contribute to our efforts to find more effective treatments for children with high-grade gliomas and DIPGs.
The Prayers from Maria Foundation released this beautiful video to describe this very special grant.
Abby, Maria and all of the other children touched by brain tumors remain our inspiration to work as hard as we can in the lab to contribute to efforts to find those better treatments that are so desperately needed.
Social distancing, graduations and new lab members!
Its been a big month for the Bando Lab. Having kept the science going full steam ahead while working remotely, we are now also back in the lab completing experiments while social distancing!
We are very proud of our Research Associates Eli Gonzalez, Gabi Gionet and Kenny Qian who ‘graduated’ this month and will be starting their MD-PhD (Eli and Kenny) and Masters (Gabi) Degrees. While we are sad to see them go, we look forward to watching them continue to excel in their careers and thank them for their hard work over the last few years in helping move our research projects forward.
We are also thrilled to welcome Leslie Lupien who joined our lab as a postdoctoral fellow, along with our new Research Associates Jeromy DiGiacomo, Kevin Zhou, Dayle Wang and Rushil Kumbhani. Leslie, Jeromy, Kevin, Dayle and Rushil are all excited to join us on our mission to perform cutting edge research dedicated to pediatric brain tumors to find better treatments for children who are diagnosed with them.
Mechanisms of hypermutation in gliomas
The Bando Lab joined forces with the Ligon, Bielle and Beroukhim Labs to evaluate the mechanisms that drive hypermutation in gliomas and to determine the associated therapeutic implications. Our findings were published in Nature and also featured on the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Broad Institute news pages.
The science goes on…..and the ‘Bando Bunch’!
We are observing social distancing guidelines and keeping ourselves and others safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Bando Lab has transitioned to working remotely. Importantly, our science continues….we are excited to use virtual team meetings to brainstorm and discuss our science, analyze datasets, write manuscripts and grants and more! All children and families affected with brain tumors are in our thoughts. Our mission is unchanged – we will continue to work as hard as we can to help find those better treatments for the children who desperately need them.
We have also used this time to put our lyric writing skills and Adam’s vocal talents to good use with our very own version of ‘The Bando Bunch’ (click below).
DFCI-Everest Pediatric Low-Grade Glioma Symposium
The Bando Lab joined other members of the DFCI PLGA program to attend the Inaugural DFCI-Everest Pediatric Low-Grade Glioma Symposium in Germany. Our team shared data and brainstormed science around PLGAs with scientists from Everest Center for Low-Grade Pediatric Brain Tumors, forming collaborations that will accelerate our joint endeavors to find better treatments for children diagnosed with these devastating brain tumors. Thank you to the PLGA Fund at the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation for your support.
Joint retreat with McGill
The Bando Lab joined the Beroukhim and Ligon Labs for a road trip to Montreal to participate in our inaugural lab retreat with the laboratories of Dr. Nada Jabado and Dr. Claudia Kleinman. We spent two days sharing our ideas and results with the team at McGill University who share our passion to find better treatments for children diagnosed with brain tumors. Thank you to the We Love You Connie Foundation for their generous support.
Single-cell RNA-seq profile of Pilocytic Astrocyoma
The Bando and Beroukhim Labs published the first dedicated analysis of single-cell RNA-sequencing profiles of Pilocytic Astrocytoma that harbor BRAF rearrangements. Their findings show that tumor cells that express high levels of MAPK signaling express either senescent or cell-cycle pathways and that MAPK expression is also associated with the more stem-like tumor cells. Our findings were published in Nature Communications and also featured on the Boston Children’s Hospital Research Discovery Blog.
Adam receives a NIH F32 Award
Congratulations to Adam Boynton who has received a NIH Postdoctoral F32 Fellowship for his project focused on identifying therapeutic vulnerabilities in MMR-deficient and hyper-mutant high-grade gliomas and DIPGs.
Zach starts his Faculty position at Duke
Congratulations to Zach Reitman who has graduated from his Postdoctoral Fellowship with the Bando Lab and has accepted a faculty position at Duke University to work as a physician-scientist. We are very proud of everything that Zach achieved during his time with the group and look forward to watching him (and the future Reitman Lab) continue to excel in Zach’s goal of finding better treatments for patients diagnosed with brain tumors.
Mediators of response and resistance to BET bromodomain inhibition.
The Bando and Beroukhim Labs applied an integrative genomics approach to identify genes and pathways that mediate response of BET-bromodomain inhibitors in MYC-driven medulloblastoma, an aggressive pediatric brain tumor. They also found that cancer cells changed their cell states to become resistant to the drug so that they can keep dividing. These findings nominated cell-cycle inhibitors as potential drugs to use in combination treatment approaches and were published in Nature Communications.
Pediatric SNO Basic and Translational Research Conference
The Bando Lab traveled to San Francisco to participate in the 5th Biennial Conference on Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Basic and Translational Research. The team presented numerous presentations reporting their findings on PPM1D mutations as a driver in Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Gliomas, single-cell transcriptomic profiles of pediatric low-grade gliomas, cell-free DNA assays for pediatric brain tumors, resistance mechanisms to BET-bromodomain inhibitors in medulloblastoma and a sunrise session on the application of functional genomics in pediatric brain tumors. We also enjoyed meeting up with collaborators and discussing science over social events!