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.
Miguel Rivera, MD, is investigating how abnormalities in gene regulation in pediatric brain and bone cancers (medulloblastoma and Ewing sarcoma respectively) drive the growth of these tumors.
Mechanisms of Oncogenic Chromatin Regulation in Pediatric Cancer
The Rivera laboratory is focused on using new technologies to identify and characterize mechanisms that drive pediatric cancer in order to find new therapies for these diseases.
Adult cancers have large numbers of genetic alterations that can often be paired with existing targeted therapies. In contrast, pediatric cancers often have only a few recurrent mutations that cannot be easily targeted with drugs. The identification of new targeted therapies for these tumors will thus require novel approaches.
Our laboratory uses several recently developed genome-wide techniques to measure how genes are regulated (either activated or repressed) in cancer cells, including ChIP-seq to identify DNA elements that are turned on or off and RNA-seq to measure gene expression levels.
Our published studies have shown that analyzing abnormalities in gene regulation in pediatric brain and bone cancers (medulloblastoma and Ewing sarcoma respectively) can uncover important mechanisms that drive these tumors.
In particular, our recent work on Ewing sarcoma has uncovered a new type of gene activation mechanism that may provide a new perspective into this disease and related tumor types. We now aim to build on these exciting discoveries to find new therapeutic targets for pediatric cancer.