MGH Research Scholars Program
The MGH Research Scholars Program was established to support early career researchers with innovative yet unproven ideas that have the potential to transform the future of medicine. Funded 100% through philanthropy, this program gives researchers the freedom and flexibility they need to follow the science wherever it leads. History has shown that brilliant scientists who are given free rein to explore new frontiers make the greatest, often unexpected, advances.
The laboratory of MGH Research Scholar Raul Mostoslavsky, MD, PhD, focuses on understanding how compaction of DNA, namely chromatin dynamics, modulates gene transcription, DNA recombination and DNA repair.
Defining SIRT6 as a Critical Modulator of Glucose Homeostasis
Despite enormous advances in diagnostics and therapeutics, cancer remains one of the leading causes of death.
One hallmark of cancer cells is their metabolism, where sugars (in particular glucose) are utilized, mainly to produce lactate instead of energy through mitochondria.
Recent studies argue that such dependency on sugars represents a potential Achilles' heel for tumors.
Despite being first described more than 80 years ago by Otto Warburg (known as the Warburg effect), little is known of the molecular pathways modulating such energetic characteristics, and whether such metabolic signature represents merely adaptation or an important driver of cancer.
Dr. Mostoslavsky has used his research scholar funds to explore two projects:
- Analyzing the role of the sirutin family protein SIRT6, a protein coding gene, in modulating differentiation of embryonic stem cells
- Discovering new point mutations in SIRT6 that were specifically selected for in cancer patients