Researcher Spotlight: Nathan Ungerleider, PhD

Tulane University School of Medicine

The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) has been shown to be linked to the development of Burkitt lymphoma, an aggressive B-cell lymphoma. EBV-infected cells are particularly efficient, capable of altering normal cells and promoting the growth of malignant cells while evading clearance by the immune system. Dr. Ungerleider’s LRF Postdoctoral Fellowship Grant project will investigate which cell pathways the virus targets in order to promote lymphoma
progression. “Understanding the human pathways targeted by the virus will teach us a) specifically how the virus promotes Burkitt Lymphoma progression, and more generally, b) lead us to critical pathways that, when dysregulated, can promote the out-of-control cell division that characterizes tumors,” he says.

Dr. Ungerleider received his MS in molecular and cellular biology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst before receiving his PhD in pathology from Tulane University School of Medicine, where he is currently a postdoctoral fellow. Inspired to start studying how tumors form by his father, a survivor of colon cancer, his interest in lymphoma research was prompted by the wide-ranging impact discoveries in lymphoma have on cancer research and science in general. Lymphoma research has contributed so much to our understanding of tumors, how they form, and how they progress,” he notes. “Many advances made studying lymphomas have underpinned research progress in a broad range of tumor types, even improving our understanding of basic cellular biology.”

Dr. Ungerleider adds that his LRF funding will assist with both this specific research project and his progression towards an
independent research career. “The Lymphoma Research Foundation grant will contribute to my research progress by allowing me to study a topic that is of great interest and value to me. This will serve as an important opportunity for me to demonstrate that I am capable of being the principal investigator on a research fellowship and fulfilling my obligation to the LRF.