News Story

Corina Anastasaki Awarded National Cancer Institute Grant

Corina Anastasaki, PhD, a senior Staff Scientist in the laboratory of David H. Gutmann, MD, PhD, was recently awarded one of the first Research Specialist (R50) grants from the National Cancer Institute (NCI).
The Research Specialist Award was specifically designed to encourage the development of stable research career opportunities for exceptional scientists who want to continue to pursue research within the context of an existing NCI-funded cancer research program.
Dr. Anastasaki first joined Dr. Gutmann’s laboratory in 2012 to leverage human induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) technology as a platform to understand the role of Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) gene mutations in NF1 brain disease pathogenesis. During her postdoctoral training, she was instrumental in establishing this invaluable resource at Washington University, which has resulted in a large number of novel insights. In addition, her pioneering efforts have culminated in numerous publications, as well as six federal and private foundation grants.
Human iPSCs are capable of forming nearly every cell type in the body. Dr. Anastasaki has used these cells to study how mutations in the NF1 gene lead to differences in human NF1-associated clinical features, brain developmental defects, nerve cell dysfunction, and tumor development. Future studies aim to define how the NF1 protein functions in human tissues, as well as to establish new human preclinical models of nerve sheath and brain tumors.