Marja Nevalainen, MD, PhD

Contact Dr. Nevalainen

233 South 10th Street
Suite 309A
Philadelphia, PA 19107

(215) 503-9250
(215) 503-9245 fax

Research and Clinical Interests

Stat transcription factors in prostate cancer.

To identify new therapeutic target proteins for castrate-resistant and metastatic prostate cancer.  <br>Past Research:

Dr. Nevalainen's research accomplishments include the development and optimization of a long-term 3D organ culture system under serum-free conditions for normal and malignant rodent and human prostate tissue. She has demonstrated that 1) prolactin (Prl) is a mitogen and survival factor for normal and malignant human and rodent prostate epithelium, 2) Prl is locally produced by normal and malignant prostate cells, 3) Stat5 is the key signaling molecule that mediates the effects of Prl in normal and malignant prostate tissue, and 4)Stat5 is a crucial survival protein for prostate cancer cells.

Ongoing Work:

Dr. Nevalainen's research program focuses on identifying protein kinase signaling pathways that mediate survival of castration-resistant and metastatic prostate cancer cells, with a special focus on Stat transcription factors. Dr. Nevalainen's laboratory has shown that Stat5 is critical for the viability of human prostate cancer cells in culture and for prostate xenograft tumor growth in nude mice.  Moreover, Dr. Nevalainen has shown that activation of Stat5 in primary prostate cancer predicts early disease recurrence.  The current focus of Dr. Nevalainen's research program is on the identification of the molecular mechanisms by which Stat5 contributes to castration-resistant growth of prostate cancer, the individual roles of Stat5a vs. Stat5b as survival factors for prostate cancer cells, on testing whether Stat5 inhibition sensitizes prostate cancer cells for radiation, and whether acetylation of Stat5a/b contributes to transcriptional activity of Stat5 in prostate cancer cells. Recently, Dr. Nevalainen's laboratory identified small-molecule inhibitors for Stat5.  Dr. Nevalainen aims to use the Jak-Stat5 pathway as a molecular target to develop novel pharmaceutical strategies for prostate cancer therapy.

Members of the Research group:
Ayush Dagvadorj, MD, PhD, Research Instructor,
Zhiyong Liao, PhD, Research Associate,
Lei Gu, MD, Research Associate,
David Hoang, MD-PhD-Student (Molecular Pharmacology and Strucural Biology Program)
Pooja Talati, PhD-student (Molecular Pharmacology and Strucural Biology Program)
Elyse Amico, MS, Research Assistant,
Shauna Blackmon, Masters Student.

Previous Members:
Mateusz Koptyra, Post-Doctoral Fellow,
Shilpa Gupta, MD, Medical Oncology Fellow,
Feng Shen, MD,
Ana Romero-Weaver, PhD,
Viviana Vogiatzi, MD, PhD,
Junaid Abdulghani, MD,
Anita Mamtani, MD,
Shyh-Han Tan, PhD,
Hong-Zhen Li,
Moogi Dagvadorj, MD,
Jackie Lutz.

Ongoing support:
1. Principal Investigator, RO1-Grant (RCA11358A);
Stat5 in Progression of Prostate Cancer, NCI.

2. Principal Investigator: Sponsored Research Contract; Astra Zeneca.

3. Principal Investigator: Sponsored Research Contract; Novartis.

4. Co-PI: American Cancer Society Institutional Research Grant (IRG-114958), Thomas Jefferson University; Kimmel Cancer Center; (PI: Richard Pestell.

Completed Support:
1. Principal Investigator: Research Award for Prostate Cancer Research; Stat5 as a Critical
Survival Factor in Prostate Cancer, American Cancer Society, Individual Allocation from an
Institutional Research Grant, IRG 97-152-11.

2. Principal Investigator: Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center Developmental Funds,
Jak - Stat5 Signaling in Prostate Cancer.

3. Principal Investigator, Investigator Initiated Grant; Lipid Modulation of Jak2-Stat5 Signal Transduction Pathway in Prostate Cancer,
American Institute for Cancer Research.

4. Principal Investigator, Research Scholar Grant; Androgen-Independent Growth Signaling Pathways in Prostate Cancer, American Cancer

5. Principal Investigator: New Investigator Award; Stat5 a Therapeutic Target Protein for Prostate Cancer, Department of Defense Prostate Cancer Research Program.

6. Principal Investigator: Idea Development Award; Stat3 in Metastatic Progression of Prostate Cancer, Department of Defense Prostate Cancer Research Program.

7. Principal Investigator: Idea Development Award; Interaction of Transcription Factor Stat5 with Androgen Receptor in Growth Promotion of Prostate Cancer, Department of Defense Prostate Cancer Research Program.

Training Opportunities:

Training opportunities for post-doctoral fellows and students are available in our dynamic prostate cancer research laboratory. Students and fellows will receive training in a broad range of research methodologies and in writing scientific publications and grants. Studies involve in vivo and in vitro models of prostate cancer.

Successful candidates must be organized and be able to work independently. Salary is dependent on experience and follows NIH-guidelines. Highly motivated candidates are encouraged to send or email an application with a brief statement of research experience and interest and CV to: Marja Nevalainen, MD, PhD, Kimmel Cancer Center, Thomas Jefferson University Bluemle Life Science Bldg 309A, 233 S. 10th St., 19107 Philadelphia, PA. Email: