Current Environment:

Researcher | Research Overview

High throughput drug discovery in prostate cancer:

Our lab has been able to obtain a NIH grant for a collaborative project between Professor Bruce Zetter lab and Assistant Professor Michael S. Rogers (both from Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School). The project is based on previous finding from the Zetter lab about the role of Antizyme Inhibitor (AZIN1) as a tumor growth stimulator. Dr. Zetter found that AZIN1 promotes tumor growth by binding and suppressing the activity of antizyme, a known tumor suppressor. They have shown that silencing AZI in tumor cells leads to reduced tumor growth and extended survival in experimental animals. In this project, we are currently aiming to develop assays that can be used to screen small molecule libraries for antagonists of AZI binding to antizyme. The goal of the project is to identifies novel drug candidates that can restore tumor suppression.

Discovering new targets for medulloblastoma treatment:

Recently, Dr. Ghalali has been funded by the Swedish Childhood Cancer fond for a project aiming to discover targets for medulloblastoma treatment. Medulloblastoma is the most common children brain cancer and is divided into four main subtypes, each with distinct molecular and clinical features. Molecules targeted by the tumor suppressor antizyme are found in each subtype. Increased levels of antizyme inhibitor (AZIN1) in medulloblastoma, along with the recent demonstration of an edited AZIN1 isoform in certain cancers, highlight the importance of this molecule in that disease. In preliminary experiments, we have seen dramatic increase of AZIN1 (the endogenous antizyme inhibitor) expression in medulloblastoma. In this project, we are aiming to validate expression/localization for some oncoproteins as a marker for pediatric brain tumors, which may predict therapeutic efficacy. Our work may also lead to development of tests that predict recurrence and progression of child brain tumors. We also aiming to correlate those oncoproteins to the outcome of medulloblastoma. That may directly benefit patients by allowing physicians to predict which children with medulloblastoma will require more intensive treatment.

Researcher | Research Background

Dr. Aram Ghalali has a Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering as well as Bachelor of Science in biotechnology. Furthermore, he has earned multiple Master of Science degrees, one in quality assessment in pharmaceuticals sciences/biotechnology and another in cancer prevention and pharmacy design. Dr. Ghalali also holds a degree in Civil Engineering, that was earned at Mälardalens (méé-lar daal-ens) University (Sweden).

He has completed his Ph.D. in field of medicine at the Karolinska Institutet (Sweden), focusing on cellular signaling pathways. Where he also obtained his first postdoctoral research fellowship, in the field of toxicology investigating the role of environmental pollutants on occupational health. He has completed his second postdoctoral fellowship in Boston Children’s Hospital at Harvard Medical school. He is a part of Vascular Biology Program at the department of Surgery. His research at Harvard is focused on oncometabolites and drug development targeting late stage/aggressive (metastatic) cancer. Recently, he has been promoted by Harvard Medical School to Instructor of Surgery / Faculty. His interests beside of science includes geopolitics, applied history, arts, sports, languages, poetry and writing.

Researcher | Publications