Public Release: 

Katerina A. Politi, Ph.D., to receive the ASIP 2017 Cotran Early Investigator Award

Experimental Biology 2017

The Cotran Early Career Investigator Award is partially supported by an unrestricted educational grant from Elsevier, an ASIP Corporate Partner. This award recognizes early career investigators with demonstrated excellence as an investigator with recently established or emerging independence and with a research focus leading to an improved understanding of the conceptual basis of disease. The award is named in honor of Dr. Ramzi S. Cotran (1933-2000), a leader of pathology, formerly of Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital, and a Past President of ASIP. The 2017 recipient of the award is Dr. Katerina A Politi, an associate professor in the Department of Pathology's Section of Medical Oncology at Yale University's School of Medicine.

Dr. Politi's resume is impressive for an early investigator; she has had several key articles published that have been pivotal in advancing the understanding and treatment of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutant lung cancer. According to Dr. Jon S Morrow, Chair and Chief of Pathology at Yale University, Dr. Politi has made notable contributions to basic, preclinical and translational oncology in the area of lung cancer. Her work at Yale has focused on understanding oncogenes - how they function, how tumors become dependent on them for survival, and the mechanisms by which tumors gain resistance to drugs that target specific oncogenic drivers.

With regard to EGFR and its role in lung cancer, Dr. Politi was part of the two research teams that discovered EGFR mutations in lung cancer. According to Dr. Morrow, "This work and related work from other laboratories has catalyzed a paradigm-shift in the way we diagnose and treat lung cancer, including the early adoption of molecular profiling in treatment decisions for lung cancer therapy." Currently, Dr. Politi is investigating the mechanisms of drug resistance by utilizing drug-resistant tumor specimens taken from lung cancer patients, which has the potential to directly impact patients' lives.

Dr. Marc Ladanyi, William Ruane Chair in Molecular Oncology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering in New York City, praises Dr. Politi's deep understanding of clinical aspects of lung cancer and asserts that "shortly after the discovery of EGFR mutations in lung cancer, she set out to develop the corresponding genetically-engineered mouse models...she used these models to identify new mechanisms of resistance, find strategies to overcome such drug resistance and uncover signaling pathway requirements of mutant EGFR in tumorigenesis." Dr. Ladanyi adds that these animal models are now used widely by the scientific community for the investigation of sensitivity and resistance mechanisms to targeted therapies.

Dr. Politi received her PhD with distinction from Columbia University. She did her fellowship in the laboratory of Harold Varmus, MD, at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. Dr. Politi has been a member of ASIP since 2012.

Dr. Politi will present her award lecture, "Unraveling the Complexity of Drug Resistance In Lung Cancer," on Monday, April 24, 2017 at the ASIP 2017 Annual Meeting at Experimental Biology in Chicago, Illinois. She will receive the Cotran Early Career Investigator Award on Saturday, April 22, 2017 at the ASIP Awards Presentation and Business Meeting.

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About Experimental Biology 2017

Experimental Biology is an annual meeting comprised of more than 14,000 scientists and exhibitors from six host societies and multiple guest societies. With a mission to share the newest scientific concepts and research findings shaping clinical advances, the meeting offers an unparalleled opportunity for exchange among scientists from across the United States and the world who represent dozens of scientific areas, from laboratory to translational to clinical research. http://www.experimentalbiology.org #expbio #ASIP2017

About the American Society for Investigative Pathology (ASIP)

ASIP is a society of biomedical scientists who investigate mechanisms of disease. Investigative pathology is an integrative discipline that links the presentation of disease in the whole organism to its fundamental cellular and molecular mechanisms. ASIP advocates for the practice of investigative pathology and fosters the professional career development and education of its members. http://www.asip.org

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