Department of Cancer Biology

News & Announcements 

2019 Larry Gentry Research Forum

The Biomedical Sciences Cancer Biology track held their annual research retreat, Larry Gentry Research Forum, on Oct. 23rd, 2019 in faculty club at the Radisson. The Dept. of Cancer Biology sponsored event, named after the late Larry Gentry, Associate Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, featured presentations from 16 Cancer Biology graduate students in three sessions on different types of cancer. Each session was moderated by a peer student. Keynote speaker and 2006 Cancer Biology track alumni, Baochun Zhang, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Medicine, Immune Disease Institute and Children’s Hospital at Harvard Medical School.  He gave a superb seminar on “Pathogenesis, Immune Surveillance and Immunotherapy of B-cell Malignancies” where CD4+-T cells can be turned into cytotoxic T-cells. The event promoted scientific exchange among students, faculty members and the keynote speaker. Importantly, our students interacted with the guest speaker to learn his approach to a successful academic career.


howard smas

Based on the initiative from our new chairman, Dr. Jian-Ting Zhang, we have instituted a “Graduate Student Excellence” award for the best graduate student who excelled in both coursework and research. The student award committee chaired by Dr. Cynthia Smas set rigorous standards for obtaining this award. Congratulations to 4th year graduate student, Cory Howard, who won the 2019 award.

Dr. Kathryn Eisenmann Receives 2019 Dean's Award for Teaching Excellence eisenmann dean's award

Dr. Kathryn Eisenmann was presented with the 2019 Dean's Award for Teaching Excellence at the Faculty and Staff Awards Banquet held at the Belmont Country Club on August 29.  She also recently celebrated her 10 year anniversary at the University of Toledo College of Medicine & Life Sciences.  Well done Dr. E!

Congratulations to Kate Becker and Sangit
a Sridharan

Heartiest congratulations to Kate Becker (Eisenmann lab) and Sangita Sridharan (Raman lab) for winning poster presentations at the 2019 Graduate Research Forum.

Kate won 1st place for her poster entitled "Targeting the mDia formin-assembled cytoskeleton is an effective anti-invasion strategy in adult high-grade glioma patient-derived neurospheres"

Sangita won 5th place for her poster entitled "Targeted therapy against protein translation initiation machinery in breast cancer stem cells"

2nd Annual Cancer Symposium Highlights Cancer Research at UT
and ProMedica

On Friday, December 7, faculty, physicians, residents and graduate students attended the 2nd Annual Cancer Research Symposium held in the Mahogany Room at the Toledo Radisson located on The University of Toledo Health Science campus.  Session presenters provided overviews of the scientific cancer research programs at the University of Toledo and ProMedica.  The meeting was organized by Dr. F. Charles Brunicardi.  Dr. Jian-Ting Zhang, Professor of Pharmacology & Toxicology at the Indiana University, gave the plenary lecture on "A Targeted Drug Discovery Program, a Small Business Start-Up Model and Perspectives at UT."  This program was held to increase awareness of cancer research resources at The University of Toledo and ProMedica.  See the full agenda.


Cancer Biology Sponsors 2018 Salvation Army Family

Each year the Department of Cancer Biology sponsors a Toledo-area family in need through the Salvation Army Adopt-A-Family program. The Christmas 2018 family included a dad, mom and four children aging 9 months - 15 years old.  All faculty, staff and students donated time, money and gifts over the past month and were able to provide a trundle bed, as well as toys, bed linens,  winter hats & mittens, shoes & boots.  In addition to the gifts, we were also able to provide a complete holiday meal in addition to many other household and pantry items.  All food and gifts were delivered on Wednesday, Dec. 12 by co-organizers, Kelly Burgin and Jenny Zak along with volunteers Dr. David Dignam, Chris Figy, Yashna Walia and Robert Zak.


Manning presents in Mexico

Dr. Maurice Manning, Distinguished University Professor, was invited to chair a session at the 22nd International Symposium on Regulatory Peptides, RepPep2018, Sept. 22-25, 2018 in Acapulco, Mexico.  In addition to chairing Session 3: "Neuropharmacology of Vasopressin and Oxytocin: Physiology and Behavior", he gave an oral presentation entitled "Receptor Selective Oxytocin and Vasopressin Agonists and Antagonists as Research Tools and Therapeutics: A Current Perspective."

2015 Cancer Biology student, Ila Datar, invited to attend 68th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting

Ila Datar, Ph.D., 2015 graduate of the Biomedical Sciences Cancer Biology program, mentored by
Drs. Kam Yeung and Ivana de la Serna, was invited to participate in the 68th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting in Lindau, Germany, June 24-29, 2018. The Lindau meetings are held annually for 500-600 international undergraduates, PhD candidates, and post-doctoral fellows who are nominated for participation from 200 of the most prominent science and research institutions from throughout the world. In order to participate in this meeting, Ila had to pass a multi-step application and selection process where a scientific review panel evaluated her application and letter(s) for recommendation.

The 68th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting was dedicated to physiology and medicine, 43 Nobel Laureates (more than any previous medicine meeting) and 600 international young scientists participated in plenary lectures and panel discussion as well as networking and social events. The mission of Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings is not only to facilitate the transfer of knowledge between Nobel Laureates and young scientists but also among the international scientific community and the general public. The opportunity for participants to form international networks of scientists is also regarded as a prime objective by the organizers. The Meeting's theme is Educate, Inspire, Connect. For more information, please visit

Dr. Datar is currently a Research Associate at the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center in Cleveland, Ohio.

Cory Howard Receives 2018 Graduate Research Award
Congratulations to Cory Howard, 2nd year Cancer Biology track student, on receiving a 2018 Graduate Research Award. This $2,000 research grant is awarded annually by UT's Graduate Student Association. The purpose of the award is to provide financial support for costs associated with approved research projects. He was selected for his award based on his proposal regarding translation of oncogenic mRNAs with secondary structure and their role in breast cancer progression and metastasis. He is mentored by Dr. Daya Raman.

Nicholas Cairl Receives 2017 Charles Balch Medical Student Research Award


Nicholas Cairl, second year medical student in the UToledo School of Medicine & Life Sciences, was recently selected to receive the 2017 Dr. Charles M. Balch Medical Student Award.  This yearly award recognizes a COMLS medical student for outstanding accomplishment and dedication in student research conducted at UTCOMLS; there were a total of 19 nominees for this year's award.  Nick has been studying in the laboratory of Dr. Cynthia Smas during the past three years, first joining her lab as an MSBS student.  His research project is entitled "Investigating the Function and Regulation of Novel Genes in Lipid Metabolism".  Nick will attend the 2017 American Society of Cell Biology in Philadelphia, PA, Dec. 2-6, to present a research poster describing some of his project data.  The award is made possible through the generosity of Charles M. Balch, MD, a Professor of Surgery at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center who graduated from the University of Toledo in 1963.  Congratulations Nick!

Zehui Li Presents at Cold Spring Harbor Symposium
Zehui (Lesley) Li, a 4th year student in the Biomedical Sciences Cancer Biology track (Advisor: Dr. William Maltese), presented a poster entitled "Mechanisms of Methuosis Defined through the use of Indolyl Chalcon Analogs in Glioblastoma Cells" at the Cold Spring Harbor Symposium on Cell Death in August 15-19, 2017.

Tupa Basuroy Receives Travel Award

Tupa Basuroy, 4th year student in the Biomedical Sciences Cancer Biology track (Advisor: Dr. Ivana de la Serna), tbreceived a $1000 travel award to attend the 2017 International Pigment Cell Conference, August 26-30, 2017, in Denver, CO.  Tupa presented an  abstract entitled "BRD9 (Bromodomain Containing Protein 9) Plays Roles in Melanogenesis and Melanoma Proliferation".  

Manning Honored at Gdansk University

Dr. Maurice Manning was honored at a ceremony organized by the Faculty of Chemistry, University of Gdansk in Poland, to commemorate his scientific contributions in the field of peptide chemistry, on the 30th anniversary of the honorary doctorate bestowed by the university.  He was accompanied by his wife, Carmel.  The ceremony was presided over by Rector, Dr. Jerzy Piotr Gwizdala, Vice-Rector, Dr. Piotr Stepnowski, Faculty of Chemistry Dean, Dr. Mariusz Makowski , and former Rector, Dr. Bernard Lammek.  A number of Dr. Manning's colleagues delivered remarks at the ceremony, including Dr. David Andreau, the Chairman of the European Peptide Society.  The ceremony concluded with comments by Dr. Manning expressing sincere appreciation for their invaluable contributions to his research program.  The ceremony was followed by a reception in the Chemistry Department and shortly thereafter by a sumputuous luncheon at the Villa Eve Restaurant attended by all the former visiting scientists (see photo below) and a number of University of Gdansk luminaries including Professors Krzysztof Rolka and Bernard Lammek who had played  huge roles in organizing the celebrations.

Poland 2017
(Left to right): Dr. Aleksandra Misicka, Professor, University of Warsaw; Dr. Aleksander Kolodziejczyk, Professor and former Rector, Technical University of Gdansk; Dr. Aleksandra Kolodziejczyk, Professor, University of Gdansk; Dr. Aleksandra Olma, Professor, Technical University of Lodz; Dr. Bernard Lammek, Professor and former Rector, University of Gdansk; Dr. Zbigniew Grzonka, Professor and former Rector, University of Gdansk; Dr. Wieslaw A. Klis, University of Wroclaw and MilliporeSigma; Dr. Marian Kruszynski, Professor, University of Gdansk, and Centocor R&D; Dr. Stoytcho Stoev, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Sofia, Bulgaria, and The University of Toledo College of Medicine & Life Sciences; honorees, Mrs. Carmel Manning and Dr. Maurice Manning, Distinguished University Professor, University of Toledo College of Medicine & Life Sciences.

Manning Serves on International Advisory Committee

Dr. Maurice Manning recently served on the International Advisory Committee for the 12th World Congress on Neurohypophysial Hormones (WCNH).  Dr. Manning also co-chaired the "Views and Perspectives on the Peripheral Effects of Vasopressin" symposium.  The Congress was held July 26-29th, 2017, in Mangaratiba, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Maltese License Three Patents

William Maltese, Ph.D., had three patents licensed to Systems Oncology, Inc.  The agreement involves significant licensing fees and royalty payments to the University of Toledo.  The patents, developed with collaborator, Dr. Paul Erhardt, describe novel chemical compounds with the potential to treat brain tumors and other cancers by inducing a unique form of cell death discovered in the Maltese lab.  The form of cell death is termed 'methuosis'.  Cancer cells undergoing methuosis drink in fluid and fill up with large bubble-like structures called vacuoles.  Eventually, the cells rupture and die.  Systems Oncology plans to move the compounds through preclinical studies, with the goal of reaching phase-1 and phase-2 trials in the near future.  The picture shows brain tumor cells (glioblastoma) examined under the electron microscope.  The cells are undergoing the early and late stages of methuosis.


Cancer Biology Student Articles Published in the Toledo Blade

The Toledo Blade is publishing a  series of articles written by Biomedical Sciences students here at the University of Toledo College of Medicine & Life Sciences.  Following is the series by our Cancer Biology students:

Yashna Walia (12/2/19) - UT Researchers Seek the Root Cause of Breast Cancer

Cory Howard (7/1/19) - Proteins may fuel life, but some also feed cancers

Augustus Tilley (10/1/18) - Toledo researcher works to disrupt metastatic breast cancer

Kaitlyn Dvorak (7/2/18) - Microenvironment play a role in cancer progression

Kalpana Gardiyawasam (03/05/18) - Researchers aim to block breast cancer metastasis

Zehui (Lesley) Li (12/31/17) - Cancer researchers focus on how cells communicate

Shengnan Du (9/2/16) - Chemical that disrupts cell division could help to treat cancer

Kari Lavik (4/4/16) - Zebrafish help in the fight against cancer

2016-2019 Thesis Defense


CONGRATULATIONS to Sandun Kalpana Gardiyawasam, PhD.
Dr. Gardiyawasam successfully defended her dissertation entitled "A mechanistic investigation of the role of RhoA and RKIP in breast cancer invasion and metastasis" on July 23, 2019.  She has been mentored by Dr. Kam Yeung


Dr. Zhang successfully defended her dissertation entitled "The Role of mDia2 in Adherens Junctions in Epithelial Ovarian Cancer" on February 20, 2019.  She has been mentored by Dr. Kathryn Eisenmann. Dr. Zhang will return to medical school to resume her MD degree requirements. 


CONGRATULATIONS to Tupa Basuroy, Ph.D.
Dr. Basuroy successfully defended her dissertation entitled "The Role of Bromodomain Containing Protein 9 (BRD9) in Melanogenesis and Melanoma" on August 21, 2018.  She has been mentored by Dr. Ivana de la Serna.  


CONGRATULATIONS to Zehui Lesley Li, Ph.D.
Dr. Li successfully defended her dissertation entitled "Effects and Mechanisms of Methuosis Defined Through the Use of Indolyl Chalcone Analogs in Glioblastoma Cells" on May 23, 2018.  She has been mentored by Dr. William Maltese. Dr. Li has accepted a postdoctoral fellowship with Dr. Michel DuPage, Dept. of Immunology and Pathogenesis at the University of California, Berkeley. 


CONGRATULATIONS to Kaitlyn Dvorak, Ph.D.
Dr. Dvorak successfully defended her dissertation entitled "A Role for the Tumor Microenvironment in Regulating Cytoskeletal Dynamics in the Setting of Breast Cancer Migration and Invasion" on March 30, 2018.  She has been mentored by Dr. Kathryn Eisenmann. Dr. Dvorak is a Clinical Research Coordinator at OSUCCC-James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute.


Dr. Du successfully defended her dissertation entitled "Novel Microtubule-Disrupting Indole-Based Chalcones That Induce Cell Death in Glioblastoma" on December 7, 2017.  She has been mentored by Dr. William Maltese.  Dr. Du has accepted a postdoctoral fellowship with Dr. Daphne Bell, Cancer Genetics and Comparative Genomics Branch, National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD.

2006-2016 Cancer Biology graduates


Last Updated: 12/2/19