University of Maryland School of Medicine, USA

Feyruz V. Rassool, PhD, received her doctorate at the Royal Postgraduate Medical School, part of the University of London. She did her postdoctoral training at the University of Chicago and took up her first independent position studying DNA damage and repair in myeloid malignancies at King’s College London in 1998, and for the last 10 years has been at the University of Maryland. She is an expert in repair of potentially lethal forms of DNA damage and DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) that play a critical role in generating genomic instability. Her work has specifically focused on the aberrant expression and activity of these repair pathways in cancer and leukemia cells that not only play a role in genomic instability, but also appear critical for their survival. She is involved in targeting DNA repair components for the development of novel therapeutic strategies for patients with leukemias and other cancers.

Dr Rassool received the Ziskin Award to study the intersection between DNA damage and repair and epigenetic pathways in cancer and she is part of the Stand-up to Cancer (SU2C) Epigenetics Dream Team. Her studies for targeting acute myeloid malignancies and triple negative breast cancers with a combination of Poly-ADP ribose polymerase (PARP) and DNA methyl transferase (DNMT) inhibitors were published in Cancer Cell and have generated a clinical trial in AML led by Dr Maria Baer, Director of hematologic malignancies at UMGCCC. Her recent work focusses on molecular mechanisms underlying efficacy of this inhibitor combination.