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Alana Lelo
Name: Alana Lelo
Title: MD, PhD Candidate (Georgetown University)
Research Topic: Role of the tumor suppressor stromal antigen 2 (STAG2) in bladder cancer
Mentors: Todd Waldman, MD, PhD (Department of Oncology, Georgetown University)

Bio: As an MD/PhD candidate, my ultimate goals involve bridging the gap between basic science and clinical medicine. More precisely, I ultimately aim to exploit the knowledge garnered from bench science to develop new, targeted therapies in pediatric oncology. My academic training and research experience have provided me with an excellent background in molecular biology, molecular genetics and clinical medicine. While an undergraduate at New York University, I sought out a variety of diverse research experiences. I spent two summers interning in the translational research department at OSI Pharmaceuticals where my focus was on the characterization of small molecule receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors. During the semesters, I worked in two different HIV labs. In one, I studied the transplacental crossing cytokines. In the other, I gained experience in monocyte isolation for the ultimate use in the characterization of a protein implicated in HIV resistance. Because of my interest in clinical medicine, I also devoted time to volunteering in a post-anesthesia care unit, where I was able to have intense interaction with patients and physicians. Following my graduation from New York University, I sought to immerse myself in research and completed a year-long internship at OSI Pharmaceuticals and then spent over a year at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. I matriculated into the Georgetown MD/PhD program in June of 2012 and recently entered my fifth year in the program. I have since completed my preclinical coursework and two research rotations, one with Dr. Jeffrey Toretsky and another with Dr. Todd Waldman. Ultimately, I chose to complete my thesis work with Dr. Todd Waldman. For my thesis project, I am determining if STAG2 mutational status correlates with prognostic outcome in non-invasive urothelial carcinoma. Recently, I have established a multi-institute collaboration in order to continue expanding my study. I am also at the bench, performing mechanistic studies to further elucidate the role STAG2 has in bladder cancer.