I was born and raised close to Hamburg, Germany then started medical school at the University of Leipzig, Germany, when I was 19 years old. I was already fascinated by hematology during my first year of medical school, especially acute myeloid leukemia. Under the mentorship of Dietger Niederwieser and Haifa Kathrin Al-Ali, I started researching the effects of iron overload in patients undergoing stem cell transplantation, including the effects of HFE genotype changes and Hepcidin expression. Our research resulted in two first authorship publications, four oral presentations at international meetings and the initiation of a phase III clinical trial (Novartis DE02), in which I served as co-principal investigator. After graduation, I was offered the opportunity to start my residency training with focus on stem cell transplantation, including work on the PBSCT unit and also the outpatient clinic. Thus, I began my residency/fellowship in the Department of Hematology and Oncology at the University of Leipzig.
With all the novel targeted agents and molecular markers being presented at the international meetings, I wanted to understand more about the molecular background in AML, and to learn more about both basic and translational research. After two and a half years of clinical training, I was given the unique opportunity to start a postdoctoral fellowship under the mentorship of not only one, but two of the most distinguished and world-renowned experts in the fields of AML and cancer genetics: Clara D. Bloomfield and Albert de la Chapelle at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. Under their joint supervision I was trained in both translational research (with a focus on prognostically significant molecular markers in AML), and also in basic molecular biology and cancer genetics. So far I have published six first author papers, which were accepted to Science Signaling, Leukemia, Blood, PNAS and the British Journal of Hematology. My discoveries include the prognostic significance and underlying signaling pathway of miR-3151, an intronic microRNA which is located in the genomic locus of the BAALC gene, and also the identification and molecular characterization of novel isoforms of the NRAS gene. In the past two years, I expanded my research to the targeted next generation sequencing analysis of a large cohort of AML patients. Some of the corresponding manuscripts are currently in revision, under review or in advanced preparation.
During my postdoctoral fellowship, I especially enjoyed mentoring gifted undergraduate and high school students. As my students developed their scientific skill sets, I was able to design and supervise independent projects for them. This resulted in separate first-author papers for three of my students where I am last author, including a publication in Cancer Discovery, which was just accepted in June 2016. This work describes our discovery of miR-3662 as a novel player in the prominent hematopoietic quantitative trait locus on chromosome 6q23.3, which regulates erythroid differentiation via the NF-KB pathway. I am especially proud of two additional students I trained for each winning first place in the AACR Undergraduate Research Competition in 2014 and 2016.
I was awarded the Pelotonia Postdoctoral Fellowship in 2011, the Alliance Young Investigator Award in 2012 and was accepted as a 2013 TRTH trainee, which is a rigorous course in translational research for 20 selected trainees world-wide. I served as a session chair and abstract reviewer for the American Society of Hematology (tumor suppressor genes and oncogenes sessions) from 2013 - 2015. In 2014, I was elected as the coordinating reviewer for this research category for the annual meeting, and started to serve as an inaugural member of the Early Career Advisory Group of the European Hematology Association (EHA). Also in 2014, together with Drs. Carson and de la Chapelle, I received a Pelotonia IDEA Grant, which supported our research on miR-3151 and NRAS.
The exceptional mentorship and career support of Dr. Bloomfield and Dr. de la Chapelle continuously increased my enthusiasm for academic medicine. For example, Dr. Bloomfield gave me the opportunity to join her as an observer at the 2014 WHO meeting, which advised for the revised guidelines for myeloid neoplasms.
Because of my equal passion for research and patient care, it became clear that continuing my career in the U.S. would be the best option for me to combine research and medicine. This step was not easy after several years of only laboratory work, but the encouragement and support of Dr. John Byrd was an additional important factor for my decision. I successfully took my USMLEs, and applied for residency training in physician scientist training programs.
The James Cancer Center, the incredibly enthusiastic and supportive faculty in the Divisions of Hematology and Oncology, and the rich campus diversity, made OSU my top choice among all PSTP training programs.
I only recently started my training, but I can already say that I am grateful every day that I made the choice to pursue this career path, and especially to start training here at OSU. The collegial atmosphere among all members of the team—the residents, fellows, attendings, nurses and especially the PCAs in the clinic— have made me feel welcome and at home, and I am learning new things every day. The daily conferences are creating an intellectual break, and the residents are doing a great job to facilitate continuous attendance of their interns.
Weekly socials with the interns and residents are another fun factor. Columbus has a vibrant restaurant scene, which is a lot of fun to explore!
06/07 MD (University of Leipzig, Germany), Final score of Medical Doctorate (Dr.med.): summa cum laude
06/07-10/09 Residency/Fellowship at the Department of Hematology and Oncology, University of Leipzig, Germany
10/09-06/16 Postdoctoral Fellow/Visiting Scholar Drs. Clara D. Bloomfield and Albert de la Chapelle, The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, Columbus, Ohio
06/14-ongoing PI status, Department of Human Cancer Genetics, The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, Columbus, Ohio
06/16-06/18 Resident, Physician-Scientist Training Program
06/18-ongoing Fellow Hematology/Oncology, The Ohio State University
05/11 Pelotonia Postdoctoral Fellowship
11/12 “Leadership by Junior Investigator” Award, ALLIANCE for Clinical Trials in Oncology Best Published Manuscripts 2012
12/12 “ASH-EHA Translational Research Training in Hematology” Award
05/13 EHA Annual Meeting Travel Award
12/16 ASH Abstract Achievement Award
05/17 “OSU Internal Medicine Physician Scientist” Award
12/17 ASH Abstract Achievement Award
05/18 “OSU Internal Medicine Physician Scientist” Award
06/18 “Clara Bloomfield Excellence in Hematology Research” Award
12/18 ASH Abstract Achievement Award
12/18 ASH Scholar Award for Basic and Translational Research Junior Faculty
12/18 AACR Next Gen Star Award
08/13 Abstract reviewer and session moderator, ASH Annual Meeting
08/14 Coordinating reviewer and session moderator, ASH Annual Meeting: Category 603, Oncogenes and Tumor Suppressors
08/14-06/16 European Hematology Association Early Career Advisory Group
06/15-current Author of the press releases for the Annual Meeting of the European Society of Hematology
12/15 Session moderator, ASH Annual Meeting: Category 603 Oncogenes and Tumor Suppressors
12/16 Session moderator, ASH Annual Meeting: Category 611, Prognostic markers in AML
06/17 Session moderator, EHA Annual Meeting: Bite-Size CRTH
06/18 Session moderator, EHA Annual Meeting: Career retrospective
06/16-current YoungEHA Committee of the European Hematology Association (term ends 06/2019)
Ongoing Regular Ad-hoc reviewer: Journal of Clinical Investigation, Blood, Leukemia, Haematologica, Biology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation, Cancer Epidemiology
Active Research Support
06/18-06/20 American Thyroid Association Young Investigator Grant. Title: Targeting NRAS isoforms to overcome BRAF-inhibitor resistance in PTC- thinking AK, Amount: $57,000
01/19-01/20 Pelotonia IDEA Award. Title: Clinical , genomic and transcriptomic characteristics of myeloid sarcomas- elucidation of the underlying biology to identify better therapy options for the “step child” in AML research. PI: Eisfeld AK, Mims AS. Amount: $150,000
07/19-07/21 ASH Junior Faculty Scholar Award for Basic and Translational Research.
Title: Novel CCND1/2 mutations in t(8;21) acute myeloid leukemia:
Deciphering their biology and their role in leukemogenesis. PI: Eisfeld, AK. Amount: $150,000
- EHA Early Career Advisory Group, 2014 - present
- Methods and Compositions using miR-3151 in the Diagnosis and Treatment of Cancer – 1-53695/OSU-2011-126. Inventors: de la Chapelle, A; Eisfeld, AK, 2013