VCU Department of Pathology News

Department of Pathology Research Division Success Stories

June 2021


Unmasking BCL-2 Addiction in Synovial Sarcoma by Overcoming Low NOXA.  Fairchild CK Jr, Floros KV, Jacob S, Coon CM, Puchalapalli M, Hu B, Harada H, Dozmorov MG, Koblinski JE, Smith SC, Domson G, Leverson JD, Souers AJ, Takebe N, Ebi H, Faber AC, Boikos SA. Cancers (Basel). 2021 May 12;13(10):2310. doi: 10.3390/cancers13102310.

Serine residues 726 and 780 have nonredundant roles regulating STAT5a activity in luminal breast cancer.  Woock AE, Grible JM, Olex AL, Harrell JC, Zot P, Idowu M, Clevenger CV. Sci Rep. 2021 Jun 29;11(1):13506. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-92830-8.


Bos Lab press:  The V Foundation for Cancer Research hosted its annual Virginia Vine on April 24, 2021 and raised a record $1 million. One of the VCU Massey Cancer Center researchers highlighted at the event was Paula Bos, member of the Cancer Biology research program at Massey and assistant professor in the Department of Pathology at the VCU School of Medicine. During this virtual tour of her laboratory, Bos explains the research funded by V Scholar Grants.

Harrell Lab press:

Chuck Harrell was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure.

Senthil Radhakrishnan was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure.

May 2021


Autophagy-Dependent Sensitization of Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Models to Topoisomerase II Poisons by Inhibition of The Nucleosome Remodeling Factor. Tyutyunyk-Massey L, Sun Y, Dao N, Ngo H, Dammalapati M, Vaidyanathan A, Singh M, Haqqani S, Haueis J, Finnegan R, Deng X, Kirberger SE, Bos PD, Bandyopadhyay D, Pomerantz WCK, Pommier Y, Gewirtz DA, Landry JW. Mol Cancer Res. 2021 Apr 2. doi: 10.1158/1541-7786.MCR-20-0743. Online ahead of print. PMID: 33811160

Cancer-Mediated Muscle Cachexia: Etiology and Clinical Management. Siff T, Parajuli P, Razzaque MS, Atfi A. Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2021 Apr 19:S1043-2760(21)00068-0. doi: 0.1016/j.tem.2021.03.007. Online ahead of print. PMID: 33888422

Chromatin conformation capture (Hi-C) sequencing of patient-derived xenografts: analysis guidelines.
Dozmorov MG, Tyc KM, Sheffield NC, Boyd DC, Olex AL, Reed J, Harrell JC.
Gigascience. 2021 Apr 21;10(4):giab022. doi: 10.1093/gigascience/giab022.
PMID: 33880552

April 2021

[View Image]
Jackie Grible, Postdoctoral Fellow


The human intermediate prolactin receptor is a mammary proto-oncogene. Jacqueline M Grible, Patricija Zot, Amy L Olex, Shannon E Hedrick, J Chuck Harrell, Alicia E Woock, Michael O Idowu, Charles V Clevenger
NPJ Breast Cancer. 2021 Mar 26;7(1):37. doi: 10.1038/s41523-021-00243-7.PMID: 33772010



[View Image]
Dr. Senthil Radhakrishnan

Senthil Radhakrishnan was awarded a grant from the American Cancer Society. "Understanding and Targeting Nrf1 Pathway in Triple-negative Breast Cancer"
$165,000 direct/year for 4 years Co-I: Harrell, Koblinski, Gewirtz, McClay


Justin Craig completed the requirements for a Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the Clinical and Translational Science Program
Alicia Woock completed the requirements for a Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the Clinical and Translational Science Program

A publication from Justin Craig, Tia Turner, Chuck Harrell, and Charles Clevenger is the current featured article by the Endocrine Society.

A publication from Tia Turner, Mohammad Alzubi, and Chuck Harrell is included in Scientific Reports Top 100 downloaded cancer papers for 2020, at 25th.

March 2021

Bos Lab
Regulatory T Cells Support Breast Cancer Progression by Opposing IFN-γ-Dependent Functional Reprogramming of Myeloid Cells.
Clark NM, Martinez LM, Murdock S, deLigio JT, Olex AL, Effi C, Dozmorov MG, Bos PD.
Cell Rep. 2020 Dec 8;33(10):108482. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2020.108482.

Local Targeting of Lung-Tumor-Associated Macrophages with Pulmonary Delivery of a CSF-1R Inhibitor for the Treatment of Breast Cancer Lung Metastases.
Alhudaithi SS, Almuqbil RM, Zhang H, Bielski ER, Du W, Sunbul FS, Bos PD, da Rocha SRP.
Mol Pharm. 2020 Dec 7;17(12):4691-4703. doi: 10.1021/acs.molpharmaceut.0c00983. Epub 2020 Nov 10.
PMID: 33170724


Harrell and Clevenger Labs
Breast cancer liver metastasis: current and future treatment approaches.
Rashid NS, Grible JM, Clevenger CV, Harrell JC.
Clin Exp Metastasis. 2021 Mar 6. doi: 10.1007/s10585-021-10080-4. Online ahead of print.

Prolactin Drives a Dynamic STAT5A/HDAC6/HMGN2 Cis-Regulatory Landscape Exploitable in ER+ Breast Cancer.
Craig JM, Turner TH, Harrell JC, Clevenger CV.
Endocrinology. 2021 Feb 16:bqab036. doi: 10.1210/endocr/bqab036. Online ahead of print.


Harrell and Bos Labs
Unexpected PD-L1 immune evasion mechanism in TNBC, ovarian, and other solid tumors by DR5 agonist antibodies.
Mondal T, Shivange GN, Tihagam RG, Lyerly E, Battista M, Talwar D, Mosavian R, Urbanek K, Rashid NS, Harrell JC, Bos PD, Stelow EB, Stack MS, Bhatnagar S, Tushir-Singh J.
EMBO Mol Med. 2021 Mar 5;13(3):e12716. doi: 10.15252/emmm.202012716. Epub 2021 Feb 15.


Koblinski Lab
MYCN-amplified neuroblastoma is addicted to iron and vulnerable to inhibition of the system Xc-/glutathione axis.
Floros KV, Cai J, Jacob S, Kurupi R, Fairchild CK, Shende M, Coon CM, Powell KM, Belvin BR, Hu B, Puchalapalli M, Ramamoorthy S, Swift K, Lewis JP, Dozmorov MG, Glod J, Koblinski JE, Boikos SA, Faber AC.
Cancer Res. 2021 Jan 22:canres.1641.2020. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-20-1641. Online ahead of print.

Conformational Modulation of Iduronic Acid-Containing Sulfated Glycosaminoglycans by a Polynuclear Platinum Compound and Implications for Development of Antimetastatic Platinum Drugs.
Gorle AK, Haselhorst T, Katner SJ, Everest-Dass AV, Hampton JD, Peterson EJ, Koblinski JE, Katsuta E, Takabe K, von Itzstein M, Berners-Price SJ, Farrell NP.
Angew Chem Int Ed Engl. 2021 Feb 8;60(6):3283-3289. doi: 10.1002/anie.202013749. Epub 2020 Dec 23. 

Atfi LabDr. Atfi next to a microscope [View Image]
Hsp70 acts as a fine-switch that controls E3 ligase CHIP-mediated TAp63 and ΔNp63 ubiquitination and degradation.
Wu HH, Wang B, Armstrong SR, Abuetabh Y, Leng S, Roa WHY, Atfi A, Marchese A, Wilson B, Sergi C, Flores ER, Eisenstat DD, Leng RP.
Nucleic Acids Res. 2021 Feb 22:gkab081. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkab081. Online ahead of print.

Human Papillomavirus 16 (HPV16) E2 Repression of TWIST1 Transcription Is a Potential Mediator of HPV16 Cancer Outcomes.
Fontan CT, Das D, Bristol ML, James CD, Wang X, Lohner H, Atfi A, Morgan IM.

Loss of Jag1 cooperates with oncogenic Kras to induce pancreatic cystic neoplasms.
Chung WC, Challagundla L, Zhou Y, Li M, Atfi A, Xu K.
Life Sci Alliance. 2020 Dec 2;4(2):e201900503. doi: 10.26508/lsa.201900503. Print 2021 Feb.  


Dr. Oh - Prof Photo 2018 [View Image]Youngman Oh, (pictured) School of Medicine VETAR grant.  “Development of a novel targeted therapy for age-related macular degeneration”. A MultiPI application with Dr. Qinggu Xu in Pharmaceutics to investigate therapeutic potential of IGFBP-3R mAb for dry AMD using a sodium iodate AMD mouse model.

Michael Idowu and Chuck Harrell are Co-Investigators on a R01 from the NCI, with PI David Gewirtz (Pharmacology): A sequential therapeutic strategy of senescence induction and senolytics for elimination of surviving residual breast tumor cells. $3.3M

Chuck Harrell served on the NIH MCT2 study section March 3-5.

November 2020

Atfi Lab
Azeddine Atfi is a coauthor on this publication: 

Clevenger Lab
A new publication from the Clevenger Lab; current Department of Pathology coauthors include Justin Craig, Jennifer Koblinski, Charles Clevenger 

Harrell Lab

July 2020

Tia Turner - Harrell's Lab [View Image]

Harrell Lab

  • Tia Turner (pictured) is awarded the 2020-2021 VCU Graduate School, Distinguished Dissertation Award



October 2020

Koblinski Lab
Jennifer Koblinski is a coauthor on this publication: 

June 2020

Harrell Lab

  • Mohammad Al-Zubi completed his PhD in the VCU Integrative Life Sciences Program
  • Chuck Harrell is a co-author on this publication, other co-authors that are members of the Pathology Department include Scott Turner and Andrea Ferreira-Gonzalez: 
  • Chuck Harrell has been asked to serve on an upcoming NIGMS study section for the Support of Competitive Research (SCORE) Program* (SC1, SC2, SC3)

Oh Lab

Radhakrishnan Lab

  • Senthil Radhakrishnan has been awarded a one-year NIH/NIA Alzheimer’s Supplement of $116,667 (Direct Cost) to his R01 to investigate the Nrf1 pathway in neuronal cells.

Snapshot of Research Laboratory without people [View Image]

September 2020

Dr. Atfi [View Image]Atfi Lab


Clevenger Lab

  • Jackie Grible earned a PhD from the Department of Human and Molecular Genetics

May 2020

Atfi Lab

  • Parash Parajuli, Thien Ly Nguyen, and Azeddine Atfi  published this paper:
  • Azeddine Atfi had his R01 grant funded by the NCI: "Targeting Transglutaminase 2 in cancer cachexia". 
  • Azeddine Atfi has been named as a member of the Tumor Progression and Metastasis Study Section for the NIH.
  • Azeddine Atfi has been named a Director of the Massey Cancer Center Cancer Biology Program.

Harrell Lab

  • Chuck Harrell had his R01 grant funded by the NCI: "Circumventing acquired carboplatin resistance in triple-negative breast cancers". Mikhail Dozmorov and Jason Reed are Co-Investigators.
  • Chuck Harrell has been appointed to the Massey Cancer Center Protocol Review and Monitoring Committee for Clinical Trials.

Radhakrishnan Lab

Amy Northrop looking at the microscope [View Image]

  • Amy Northrop (pictured at microscope) is awarded the Roscoe D. Hughes fellowship from the Human Medical Genetics Department and she received the Charles C. Clayton Scholarship from VCU School of Medicine.
  • Senthil Radhakrishnan has been as to serve on an upcoming Drug Discovery and Molecular Pharmacology study section. ​​​





August 2020

Bos Lab


Harrell Lab


Radhakrishnan Lab

  • Amy Northrop earned a PhD from the Department of Human and Molecular Genetics

January 2020


Clevenger Lab

Jackie Grible and Alicia Woock both received 1) Early Career Forum Travel Awards and 2) Graduate School Travel Grants to attend the annual Endocrine Society Meeting in San Francisco.

Harrell Lab

• A recent publication from the Harrell Lab: The utility of the “Glowing Head” mouse for breast cancer metastasis research. 
Department of Pathology contributors include; Mohammad Al-Zubi, David Boyd, Chuck Harrell.
• A recent publication from the Harrell Lab: Identification of synergistic drug combinations using breast cancer patient-derived xenografts. 
Department of Pathology contributors include; Tia Turner, Mohammad Al-Zubi, Chuck Harrell.

Variety of test tubes on research lab table [View Image]Koblinski Lab

Dr. Koblinski is a co-author on this paper: Anillin regulates breast cancer cell migration, growth, and metastasis by non-canonical mechanisms involving control of cell stemness and differentiation. 

Radhakrishnan Lab

• A recent publication from the Radhakrishnan Lab: Disabling the Protease DDI2 Attenuates the Transcriptional Activity of NRF1 and Potentiates Proteasome Inhibitor Cytotoxicity.  
Department of Pathology contributors include; Amy Northrop, Janakiram Vangala, Senthil Radhakrishnan.
Dr. Radhakrishnan has been named to the Editorial Board of PLOS ONE.
Dr. Radhakrishnan has been invited to serve as Ad Hoc reviewer for the “Transition to Independence” NIH study section.

April 2020

Tia Turner (Harrell Lab MD/PhD student) successfully defended her PhD Thesis.

Madelyn Esquivel (Harrell Lab PREP student) was accepted into graduate school at Baylor.



VIDEO: Testing for COVID-19

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