Hatzios Lab targets cancer-causing infections with support from Concern Foundation

Friday, November 13, 2020

Stavroula Hatzios, a faculty member at the Yale Microbial Sciences Institute, has received a “Conquer Cancer Now” Award from the Concern Foundation. The two-year grant will support research into the role of oxidative stress in gastric cancer.

Based at Yale’s West Campus, the Hatzios lab uses chemical and biological tools to study enzymes and other proteins that shape host-microbe dynamics in gastrointestinal infections.

By examining the functional proteome of bacterial infections, they aim to uncover biochemical pathways that will generate new leads for therapeutic targets, activity-based diagnostics, and drug-delivery systems.

Microbial infections are a major cause of cancer worldwide. Infection-associated inflammation and oxidative stress contribute to cancer development.

However, the molecular targets of oxidative stress that promote tumor growth are poorly defined.

“Thanks to the support of the Concern Foundation, this project will help us leverage a unique combination of chemical biology, genome-editing tools, and infection models to identify protein targets of oxidative stress that promote cancer cell signaling,” said Hatzios, who is an assistant professor in the departments of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology and of Chemistry.

“These studies will increase understanding of cancer-causing infections and, in the long term, may reveal oxidized proteins that could be targeted to accelerate cancer diagnosis and treatment.”

Since 1968, Concern Foundation has funded well over 800 pediatric and adult cancer researchers worldwide studying many forms of cancer, primarily in the areas of immunology, immunotherapy, and the genetics of cancer. By focusing funding to new investigators, Concern helps to bridge a gap that currently exists in the scientific research community by funding early career scientists to obtain sound data.