Yuri E. Nikiforov, MD, PhD
Year elected: 2007
Current membership category: Senior
University of Pittsburgh
Clinical Lab Building
3477 Euler Way
8th Floor, Room 8032
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
United States of America
Dr. Nikiforov’s research is focused on (i) understanding the mechanisms of radiation-induced carcinogenesis and chromosomal rearrangements in human cells and (ii) studying molecular basis of thyroid cancer. The main contribution of Dr. Nikiforov’s work is in the understanding of the mechanisms of radiation-induced carcinogenesis. In collaboration with Dr. James Fagin, he defined chromosomal rearrangement as the prevalent mechanism of gene activation in radiation-induced thyroid cancer. He demonstrated that spatial proximity of potentially recombinogenic genetic loci in the interphase nuclei of normal human cells provides a structural basis for chromosomal rearrangements that occur after radiation exposure (Science, 2000, 290:138-141). His current work in this direction is focused on further dissecting the molecular mechanism of DNA damage and recombination following exposure to ionizing radiation and studying genetic predisposition to radiation-induced carcinogenesis. The efforts of his lab in the area of thyroid cancer genetics resulted in demonstration that different types of RET rearrangement are associated with phenotypically distinct forms of cancer, cloning and characterization of AKAP9-BRAF rearrangement, which was the first demonstration of activation by recombination of an intracellular effector of the MAPK signaling pathway in vivo, and cloning of a novel type of RET rearrangement, HOOK3-RET. His current efforts are directed towards the identification of novel mutations in thyroid cancer and development of molecular tests for thyroid cancer diagnosis in preoperative fine-needle aspiration biopsies.
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine (Primary)
Alison Morris, MD, MS is the representative at this institution.