Ataman Sendoel

2017 Regional Award Finalist — Post-Doc

Ataman Sendoel

Current Position:
Postdoctoral Fellow

Institution:
The Rockefeller University

Discipline:
Cancer Stem Cells

Recognized for: Discovering a novel switch in the cell’s protein synthesis machinery that promotes the synthesis of proteins that lead to tumor formation

Areas of Research Interest and Expertise:  Cancer, Translational Regulation, Cancer Stem Cell Signaling, In vivo Screens

Biography

MD-PhD, Institute of Molecular Life Sciences, University of Zurich, Switzerland
MD University of Zurich Switzerland Medical School

Dr. Sendoel has had a long-term interest in the principles underlying tumor formation and cancer progression.  Dr. Sendoel studies the regulation of protein synthesis in cancer stem cells.  The synthesis of proteins from the messenger RNA code is referred to as translation; this is a key cellular process because the types and levels of proteins in a cell controls the cell’s function and health.  Dr. Sendoel uncovered a unique switch that hijacks this process during tumor formation and progression, forcing the cell to preferentially synthesize cancer-promoting proteins.  Interestingly, one of the genes involved in this switch is frequently amplified in patients with squamous-cell carcinomas, with higher levels correlating with shorter survival.  Motivated by these findings and his clinical experience, Dr. Sendoel is now developing drugs to block cells from making this switch in translation, which could lead to new strategies for cancer treatment and prevention.

“Cancer is still one of the leading causes of death. Although remarkable advances have been made in the last decade, there is still the need for novel insights and novel concepts that could be translated into novel cancer therapies. My long-term vision is to obtain a comprehensive understanding of how translational regulation determines cell fate in homeostasis and disease and translate this knowledge into novel strategies to treat human disease.”

Key Publications:

  1. Sendoel A, Dunn J, Gonzales E, Naik S, Gomez S, Hurwitz B, Levorse J, Dill B, Schramek D, Molina H, Weissman J, Fuchs E. Translation from unconventional 5’ start sites drives tumor initiationNature (2017). doi:10.1038/nature21036
  2. Sendoel A, Maida S, Zheng X, Teo Y, Stergiou L, Rossi CA, Subasic S, Pinto SM, Kinchen JM, Shi M, Boettcher S, Meyer JN, Manz MG, Bano D, Hengartner MO. DEPDC1/LET-99 participates in an evolutionarily conserved pathway for anti-tubulin drug-induced apoptosisNat. Cell Biol. 16(8): 812–820 (2014).
  3. Schramek D, Sendoel A, Segal JP, Beronja S, Heller E, Oristian D, Reva B, Fuchs E. Direct in vivo RNAi screen unveils myosin IIa as a tumor suppressor of squamous cell carcinomasScience 343(6168), 309-13 (2014).
  4. Sendoel A, Kohler I, Fellmann C, Lowe SW, Hengartner MO. HIF-1 antagonizes p53-mediated apoptosis through a secreted neuronal tyrosinaseNature 465(7298): 577-83 (2010).

Other Honors:

2017 Regeneron Prize for Creative Innovation, Finalist
2011 Georg-Friedrich-Götz Prize, University of Zurich, Switzerland
2011 Promising Scientist Award, Kadir Has University, Istanbul, Turkey
2010 GE & Science Prize for Young Scientists, Regional Winner Europe
For Best PhD thesis in molecular biology awarded by Science Magazine and GE Healthcare
2007 Young Investigator Award, 8th Charles Rodolphe Brupbacher Symposium, Zurich Switzerland

In the Media:
http://www.sciencemag.org/site/feature/data/prizes/ge/2010/sendoel.xhtml