BME7900 Seminar Series - Alexander Nikitin, MD, PhD



Weill Hall 226


Our next speaker is Dr. Alexander Nikitin from our own Cornell Veterinary Medicine. He is a Professor of Pathology, the Director of the Cornell Training Program in Stem Cell Research and the Director of the Graduate Minor in Stem Cell Biology in Dept of Biomedical Sciences. Dr. Nikitin is also applying for Field Membership with the Meinig School of Biomedical Engineering.

Ovarian Cancer-prone Cell States

Abstract: Ovarian/extra-uterine high-grade serous carcinoma (HGSC) is the most common and aggressive type of ovarian cancer. It often has no symptoms at early stages and over 80% of patients are diagnosed at advanced, usually incurable, cancer stages, when the tumors have already metastasized. Current diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic approaches have made very limited impact on curing HGSC. A major limitation has been that the actual cells-of-origin are not clearly established. Current advances to address this problem by a combination of single cell transcriptomics, cell lineage tracing and organoid systems will be discussed.

Bio: Alexander Nikitin, M.D., Ph.D. is Professor of Pathology in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Leader of the Cornell Stem Cell Program at the Cornell University. He is also Director of Stem Cell Biology Minor and Adjunct Faculty Member in the Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor, ME. Dr. Nikitin earned his M.D. (with Distinction) from the Pavlov First Medical Institute and Ph.D. in Pathology from the Petrov Research Institute of Oncology, both in St. Petersburg, Russia. After diagnostic pathology work at the Petrov Research Institute of Oncology in St. Petersburg, Russia, he performed postdoctoral and junior faculty research at the University of Essen Medical School in Germany and at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio in Texas. Dr. Nikitin joined the Cornell University faculty in 2000 and initiated formation of the Cornell Stem Cell Program in 2008. Dr. Nikitin's research aims to understand how aberrations in molecular and cellular mechanisms governing the tissue homeostasis may lead to cancer initiation and progression. In that area, his laboratory discovered a novel cancer-prone stem cell niche in the ovarian surface epithelium, showed that cancer propensity of various transitional epithelial zones may be explained by presence of cancer-susceptible stem and progenitor cells therein, and established a number of autochthonous mouse models of human cancer suitable for stem cell research studies. In addition to studies of stem cell identity, cell fate decision and homeostasis in mouse models, Dr. Nikitin's research also utilizes human organoid systems, CRISPR-based genome interrogation approaches, and single cell transcriptomics. Dr. Nikitin's research is complemented by collaborations with developmental and systems biologists, as well as by cross-disciplinary collaborations in technology-oriented areas, such as nonlinear microscopy, intravital imaging and nanotechnology.