Yuan Pan, PhD, was recently awarded the Early Investigator Research Award from the Department of Defense Neurofibromatosis (NF) Research Program. The Early Investigator Research Award was to support NF-focused research and promote career development towards an independent researcher in the NF field.
Dr. Pan joined Dr. Gutmann’s laboratory as a postdoctoral research fellow to study the role of the tumor microenvironment in NF1-associated glioma in 2015. She is currently a postdoctoral researcher in Dr. Michelle Monje’s laboratory at Stanford University. Dr. Pan’s research focuses on the neuronal regulation of NF1-associated optic glioma, a collaborative project between the Gutmann and Monje laboratories. Neurons are a major component of brain tumors, yet it is unclear whether neurons in the optic pathway play a role in the pathogenesis of NF1-associated optic pathway gliomas. With the support of this Early Investigator Research Award, Dr. Pan aims to understand whether neuronal activity is necessary and sufficient for the pathogenesis of NF1-associated optic pathway gliomas and the underlying molecular mechanisms. This exciting work could lead to novel therapeutic targets and strategies for NF1 patients.