“My laboratory develops new technologies and conceptual frameworks to understand how cancers evolve to become more aggressive and resistant to therapy. We see this perspective as critical for a better understanding of how brain cancers form, and how they overcome our therapeutic interventions. We are elated to have the support of the Distinguished Scientist Award to explore ambitious novel approaches to tackle brain cancers, and thrilled to join the Sontag community of pioneering researchers dedicated to advancing towards a cure for these devastating malignancies."
- Dr. Dan A. Landau
- Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Hematology and Medical Oncology, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY
- Associate Professor of Physiology and Biophysics, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY
- Member, Institute of Computational Biomedicine, Weill Cornell Medicine, New York, NY
- Core Member, New York Genome Center, New York , NY
About DSA-Funded Research
Cancer evolution constitutes a foremost obstacle to effective treatment, driving malignant cells to adapt and overcome therapy. Diffuse glioma illustrates the quandary of cancer evolution: despite maximal treatment, the disease invariably recurs. Recent single-cell genomic analysis of gliomas showed that different cellular states within gliomas coordinate to fuel glioma growth, evolution and resistance to therapy. However, this raises the critical question of the origin of glioma cell states. We hypothesize that both genetic and epigenetic determinants govern the biology of key cellular states that drive gliomas and their plasticity, calling for an integrative model of cancer evolution, encompassing both genetic and epigenetic sources of heritable variations within tumors. To address this challenge, the Landau laboratory developed novel multi-omics single-cell sequencing technologies that enable direct integration across genetic, epigenetic, and cell state dimensions of cell-to-cell variation, and have applied them to study clonal evolution in hematological malignancies. In this Sontag funded project, we seek to apply this multi-layered single-cell approach to human gliomas in order to define how cellular plasticity (i.e., the ability to switch between cell states) and evolution enable tumor cell growth.
"Dan was, and is, an exceptionally insightful, bright, and engaging physician-scientist. As is evident from his stellar achievements and ongoing cutting edge work, Dan was among the most creative and productive trainees that I have supervised. Among his defining qualities are his abilities to ask fundamental questions and to think outside the box when addressing key, unsolved challenges in biology. Dan’s record of productivity and creativity strongly reflect his immense potential to make contributions to the basic and translational science of brain cancer of the highest impact. He belongs to a new generation of physician-scientists, who are proficient in both computational and experimental biology, turning systems biology from a theoretical opportunity to a practical reality, and generating basic discoveries to transform clinical care."
Dr. Catherine Wu
Harvard Medical School, Broad Institute
"Dan is one of the most creative and productive junior investigators with whom I have had the pleasure of working with. Dan’s project has truly paradigm-shifting potential, as it applies new tools and conceptual frameworks to study a question that has been an intensive focus of investigation in the field of malignant gliomas. I cannot say enough about the prospects for Dan’s future, as he will undoubtedly revolutionize our understanding of glioma biology in ways that maximize how we diagnose and treat disease."
Dr. Lewis Cantley
Weill Cornell Medicine Cancer Center