Dr. Leonardo Salmena is investigating the role of non-conventional BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations in breast cancer, with a particular focus on mutations in non-coding regions of the genes. He is also beginning projects investigating the haploinsufficient nature of BRCA1 tumor suppression and the molecular mechanisms regulating the expression of this gene.
Dr. Salmena is working to identify biomarkers to pinpoint cells of origin for breast cancer – so-called cancer-initiating cells. Ultimately he plans to develop the capacity to identify and measure normal mammary stem cells in vivo. He hypothesizes this would allow for an accurate estimation of any woman’s relative risk of developing breast cancer – even in the absence of a BRCA1/2 mutation and/or strong family history.
Dr. Salmena has recently completed his post-doctoral training at Harvard Medical School in Boston where he was a lead author on papers identifying a new mechanism for gene regulation mediated through the function of small non-coding RNA molecules known as microRNA. The findings of these studies have been published in the peer-reviewed journals, Cell and Nature.Jump to top page