Boston University School Of Medicine Researcher Recipient Of The First Junior Faculty Award

Contact: Allison Rubin, 617-638-8491 | afrubin@bu.edu

(Boston)-Boston University is pleased to announce that Isabel Dominguez, PhD, is the recipient of the first Junior Faculty Award given by the Karin Grunebaum Cancer Research Foundation. This award is given to fund her research on basic cancer mechanism that can impact breast cancer treatment.

Dominguez’s research has been focused on understanding the control of cell growth in normal and disease tissues. In particular, she has been learning how a family of growth factors called “Wnts” is normally used by the developing embryos to signal cells to grow or change fate. While Wnts are turned on briefly in developing embryos, in adults, Wnts can be reactivated and “co-opted” by tumor cells to promote their aberrant growth. Dominguez’s group and her collaborators have been studying a number of molecules that are involved in propagating the Wnt growth signals inside the cells and found that a key activator of Wnt signaling is a protein called CK2. CK2 is a cancer-causing protein that is found in abnormal quantities in tumors, particularly breast tumors.

This award will allow Dominguez’s group to understand how excessive CK2 over-activates Wnt signaling what can lead to aberrant tumor cell growth, and to test if the blockade of CK2 activity would be a feasible approach to treat cancers with overactive Wnt signaling, such as breast cancer. “My goal is to develop novel CK2 inhibitors that can block Wnt-dependent biological processes such as aberrant signaling in cancerous cells. These inhibitors could be used in the future as anti-tumor therapeutics,” said Dominguez, “I am honored to be selected as the first recipient of the Karin Grunebaum Cancer Research Foundation’s Junior Faculty award. The support from the Foundation will be key in the development of our research programs to produce a cancer treatment and my career as a cancer researcher”

Dominguez is an Assistant Professor of Hematology-Oncology in the Department of Medicine at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) and Boston Medical Center (BMC). She obtained her BS in biological sciences and MS degree in biochemistry from the Universidad del Pais Vasco in Spain. She earned her PhD from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid in Spain, and conducted post-doctoral research at Beth Israel Hospital and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute with the support of research fellowships from the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science and the Basque government. She was recruited to the Section of Hematology-Oncology at Boston University Medical Center in 2001.

“We are delighted to support Dr. Dominguez as she makes great strides toward solving the myriad mysteries of cancer and helps to eradicate this disease from the world,” explains Steven E. Wallach, Esq., chairman of the board of trustees of the Karin Grunebaum Cancer Research Foundation.

The Karin Grunebaum Cancer Research Foundation was established in honor of Karin Grunebaum who died of cancer in 1958. The Karin Grunebaum Cancer Research Foundation’s mission is to promote research designed to eradicate each and every type of cancer. In 2007, the Foundation launched a new initiative specifically designed to support outstanding junior faculty devoted to cancer research and selected Dominguez to receive the newly created award.