Molecular and Translational Cancer Biology
Investigating the molecular genetic and physiologic basis for childhood cancer development and identifying personalized, tumor-specific therapies.
Loretta Li, MD, is a pediatric oncologist with clinical expertise in blood cancers, including leukemia and lymphoma. She has a particular interest in caring for patients with high-risk leukemia, including those with relapsed or refractory disease. Dr. Li leads a translational leukemia research laboratory focused on identifying new therapeutic targets, developing preclinical models of disease, and validating the preclinical efficacy of novel targeted therapeutics in acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Her lab also studies how leukemia cells become resistant to targeted therapies. This work will provide insight as to which patients would most likely benefit from a targeted agent, facilitate the development of combination strategies to prevent or overcome resistance, and guide the rational design of next-generation small molecule inhibitors.
Our laboratory focuses on molecular neuro-oncology and translational experimental therapeutics with a goal of developing more effective and less toxic therapies for children with malignant brain tumors. Our ultimate goal is to improve the clinical outcomes of pediatric malignant brain tumors.
Kyle MacQuarrie, MD, PhD, is a pediatric oncologist who specializes clinically in the care of children with solid tumors, and has a particular interest in pediatric sarcomas. Dr. MacQuarrie’s research interests include understanding the relationship between normal developmental biology and pediatric cancer, focusing on the pediatric tumor of skeletal muscle, rhabdomyosarcoma. Dr. MacQuarrie hopes to leverage these types of studies to advance our understanding and treatment of pediatric cancers generally. He also has an interest in scientific and medical diversity, equity, inclusion, and mentoring.
Studies in our lab are aimed at defining biological markers that shed light on the pathogenesis and/or aid in the therapeutic stratification of pediatric renal tumors and pediatric germ cell tumors. We are performing these studies in collaboration with the Children’s Oncology Group (COG), which governs treatment protocols used for over 90% of pediatric malignancies and serves as a central collections agency for biological samples.
The Walz Laboratory conducts research on the treatment of pediatric patients with solid tumors, including renal tumors, liver tumors, germ cell tumors, sarcomas, and rare tumors. The laboratory also develops new therapeutic clinical trials for renal tumor patients.