LUISA ESCOBAR-HOYOS, PHD
Principal Investigator, SEHLab
Department of Pathology
Stony Brook Medicine
Dr. Hoyos, a previous Fulbright scholar, is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Pathology at Stony Brook Medicine (SBM) with a dual appointment as Senior Research Fellow at Memorial Sloan Kettering's (MSKCC) David M. Rubenstein Center for Pancreatic Cancer Research under the mentorship of Drs. Steven Leach and Omar Abdel-Wahab. At SBM, she serves as a research lab Co-PI (with Dr. Kenneth R. Shroyer) and co-directs the Pathology Translational Research Lab, a departmental training facility for undergraduate, graduate, and medical students as well as clinical residents and postdoctoral fellows. Her research is currently funded by the NIH/NCI K99/R00, AACR/ Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN), and the National Pancreas Foundation.
Dr. Hoyos aims to understand the biological differences of newly described molecular subtypes of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) by studying differential RNA/protein expression profiles, RNA splicing and oncogenic pathways, to develop new therapies to improve cancer patient survival and quality of life. Through her research, her team has found that RNA processing and nuclear transport are pathways that represent therapeutic vulnerabilities to treat the most aggressive form of this malignancy.
At MSKCC, she is studying the role of aberrant RNA splicing in PDAC and how targeting this pathway might serve as novel therapeutic approach. She has discovered a novel mechanism of cooperation between the two most common oncogenes in pancreatic cancer, oncogenic RAS and neomorphic mutant p53, uncovering a potential therapeutic opportunity to target tumors bearing these mutations. In addition, her team identified that pancreatic tumors in mouse models depend on expression of splicing machinery proteins, as genetic and chemical inhibition of these proteins caused decrease in tumor growth, number of metastases and tripled the survival of animals. These studies nominated these proteins as new targets for tumors with neomorphic p53 and oncogenic KRAS. The manuscript reporting these findings is under review.
At SBM with Dr. Shroyer, she leads the laboratory’s efforts to understand the oncogenic role of Keratin 17 (K17) in pancreatic cancer and how to specifically target this protein. Her doctoral thesis work in Dr. Shroyer’s lab at SBM led to the discovery of K17 function as an oncoproteins and as a prognostic biomarker in several cancer types.
Dr. Hoyos is the recipient of multiple awards including the National Young Inventor Academic Award from the National Academy of Inventors, and the Pathway to Leadership Award from AACR/PanCAN.