Golam Mohi, PhD, a professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, was awarded two new NIH grants (one R01 and one R21) providing approximately $2.8 million to study myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) and myelofibrosis (MF). MDS and MF are blood/bone marrow cancers that are predominantly seen in elderly patients. Current therapies are inadequate to treat MDS and MF. Therefore, there is a critical need for better understanding of these blood cancers and identification of new therapeutic targets.
In the first project, funded by a R01 award from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) at the NIH, Dr. Mohi will study the molecular basis for myelodysplasia induced by U2AF1 mutations. In this project, Dr. Mohi’s group and collaborators will investigate how mutations in the RNA splicing factor U2AF1 dysregulate hematopoiesis and contribute to the pathogenesis of MDS.
In the second project, funded by a R21 award from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) at the NIH, Dr. Mohi will investigate the contribution of interleukin-1 (IL-1) signaling in the pathogenesis of MF and test the efficacy of pharmacologic inhibition of IL-1 signaling in pre-clinical models of myelofibrosis. This project is based on their recent discoveries published in Nature Communications 2022 indicating that IL-1 signaling plays an important role in clonal expansion and progression of myeloproliferative neoplasms. Results from these two studies could lead to the discovery of new therapeutic targets or therapies for MDS and MF.
Collaborators on the projects include Chongzhi Zang, PhD, Associate Professor at Center for Public Health Genomics, and Gloria Sheynkman, PhD, Assistant Professor in Molecular Physiology & Biological Physics at the University of Virginia.