Ludmila Prokunina-Olsson, Ph.D., was recently awarded scientific tenure by the NIH. Dr. Prokunina-Olsson studies the underlying molecular mechanisms of genetic susceptibility to cancer and explores possible translational applications for these findings. As part of this research, she and her colleagues have been conducting follow-up studies on findings from several genome-wide association studies, including breast, prostate, and bladder cancers, as well as outcomes of hepatitis C viral (HCV) infection. Some examples of her work include:
Identification of the first genetic variant associated with risk of aggressive bladder cancer. The variant, rs7257330, could be useful for inclusion in bladder cancer risk prediction models, in combination with established risk factors and other genetic markers.
Discovery of a gene that interferes with the clearance of HCV infection (a cause of liver cirrhosis and liver cancer), and identification of an inherited variant within this gene, Interferon Lambda 4 (IFNL4), that predicts how people respond to treatment for HCV infection.