Lisa Maurer, MD, PhD, is the recipient of a Hyundai Hope on Wheels Young Investigator Award. Dr. Maurer’s research award will help to further her work exploring immune regulation in non- Hodgkin lymphoma.
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) is a relatively uncommon form of cancer in children and adolescents under the age of 20. In a subset of children with NHL, the cancer occurs as a result of an underlying genetic cancer predisposition syndrome. There are several genetic syndromes that result in an inability to properly repair damaged DNA and are associated with a risk of developing lymphoma. For example, children with Ataxia-telangiectasia carry a mutation in a protein called ATM, and this mutation causes damaged DNA to accumulate in cells. Children with Ataxia-telangiectasia have an increased risk of multiple cancers, including NHL. NHL that occurs as the result of a genetic syndrome, such as Ataxia telangiectasia, is especially difficult to cure.
Dr. Maurer’s research will investigate why lymphomas in children with genetic syndromes
affecting DNA damage repair are difficult to treat by examining how the immune system interacts with lymphoma cells with damaged DNA and to identify potential new therapeutic targets and treatment options.
The first aim of Dr. Maurer’s research will examine how DNA damage induced by chemotherapy can change the immune system’s response to NHL, while the second aim of the study will examine how DNA damage caused by a loss of the ATM protein affects the immune system’s response to non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Lisa Maurer, MD, PhD, is a pediatric oncologist with an interest in pediatric leukemia and lymphoma. She also is a physician-scientist in the Lucas/McAllister Lab in the Rangos Research Center at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. Currently, Dr. Maurer’s research focus is on the role of GRK2 in inhibition of the MALT1 proto-oncoprotein in lymphomagenesis. She earned her medical degree and doctorate from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, and then completed her residency at the University of California San Francisco. Dr. Maurer’s fellowship in pediatric hematology/oncology was completed at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.