Jennifer Beane, PhD, Assistant Professor of Computational Biomedicine at Boston University School of Medicine was awarded a LUNGevity Career Development Award. Though she is still forging her career as a scientist, her exceptional research findings in the early detection of lung cancer have demonstrated her promise as a successful lung cancer researcher.
In previous work, Dr. Beane studied normal airway epithelial cells obtained from healthy never smokers, as well as from current and former smokers with and without lung cancer, using a relatively non-invasive procedure known as bronchoscopy. Dr. Beane used these cells to identify molecular changes associated with tobacco smoke exposure and to develop a biomarker for the detection of lung cancer.
This award will support her continued progress in the early detection of lung cancer and her continued growth as a lung cancer researcher. In addition to the financial investment, the award requires Dr. Beane to participate in a structured mentoring program at her institution, as well as become an ex officio member of LUNGevity’s Scientific Advisory Board for the duration of her award.
This LUNGevity grant allows Dr. Beane to use next-generation sequencing to measure molecular changes in pre-cancerous airway epithelial cells, combined with computational approaches to identify key changes that predict if the pre-cancerous lesions will progress or regress. These predictions will be helpful in selecting which patients to enroll in chemoprevention trials, in determining which patients are benefitting from treatment and in identifying new targets for chemopreventive therapies. In addition, Dr. Beane will test the correlation between these key airway changes and the development of lung cancer. If she is successfully able to identify the critical changes, Dr. Beane could be laying the groundwork for the early detection of lung cancer.
By conducting this research, Dr. Beane is taking steps to harness the power of her innovative, computational approaches and to gain important insights into the inner-workings of lung cancer in order to reach her ultimate goal of improving the outcomes of chemopreventive therapies in high-risk patients.