Ph.D. Biology, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA
M.A. Biology, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA
B.S. Biology, University of Scranton, Scranton, PA
I study a rare but deadly form of cancer, referred to as gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs). GIST is a type of sarcoma, a cancer that grows from the body’s connective or supportive tissues such as bone, cartilage, or muscle. The majority of these tumors are caused by DNA mutations or deviations from the normal genetic “blueprint” in two genes, referred to as KIT and PDGFRA. These mutations disrupt the signaling process so that cells no longer grow and divide normally. This results in malignancy and ultimately death. Although a relatively rare cancer, GISTs have evolved over the last decade to be an extremely useful and well-studied disease since it was one of the first cancers to be successfully targeted at the molecular level by a drug called imatinib mesylate or Gleevec. Gleevec has revolutionized the treatment of GISTs, which previously had been resistant to traditional chemotherapies and radiation. Gleevec works by targeting specifically only the cells in the body that possess mutant KIT or PDGFRA, thereby preventing many of the cytotoxic side effects of traditional cancer therapies. However, despite the initially efficacy of Gleevec, some patients fail to respond to initial therapy or develop resistance to the drug after several years of treatment. My work is focused on investigating why some of these tumors respond to Gleevec while others do not.
Rink L., Ochs M.F., Zhou Y., von Mehren M., Godwin A.K. (2013) ZNF-mediated resistance to imatinib mesylate in gastrointestinal stromal tumor. PLOS ONE.
Belinsky M., Rink L., Flieder D.B., Jahromi M.S., Schiffman J.D., Godwin A.K., von Mehren M. (2013) Overexpression of insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor and frequent mutational inactivation of SDHA in wild-type SDHB-negative gastrointestinal stromal tumors. Genes Chromosomes Cancer. Feb;52(2):214-24.
Van den Abbeele AD, Gatsonis C, de Vries DJ, Melenevsky Y, Szot-Barnes A, Yap JT, Godwin AK, Rink L, Huang M, Blevins M, Sicks J, Eisenberg B, Siegel BA. (2012) ACRIN 6665/RTOG 0132 phase II trial of neoadjuvant imatinib mesylate for operable malignant gastrointestinal stromal tumor: monitoring with 18F-FDG PET and correlation with genotype and GLUT4 expression. J Nucl Med. Apr;53(4):567-74.
Dumont AG, Rink L, Godwin AK, Miettinen M, Joensuu H, Strosberg JR, Gronchi A, Corless CL, Goldstein D, Rubin BP, Maki RG, Lazar AJ, Lev D, Trent JC, von Mehren M. (2012) A nonrandom association of gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST) and desmoid tumor (deep fibromatosis): case series of 28 patients. Ann Oncol. May;23(5):1335-40.
Rink L, Skorobogatko Y, Kossenkov AV, Belinsky MG, Pajak T, Heinrich MC, Blanke CD, von Mehren M, Ochs MF, Eisenberg B, Godwin AK. (2009) Gene expression signatures and response to imatinib mesylate in gastrointestinal stromal tumor. Mol. Cancer Ther. 2009 Aug;8(8):2172-82.
Rink, L. and Godwin, A.K. (2009) Clinical and molecular characteristics of Gastrointestnal Stromal Tumor in the pediatric and young adult population. Curr. Oncol. Reports, 11(4):314-21.
Tarn, C┼., Rink, L┼., Merkel, E, Flieder, D., Pathak, H., Koumbi, D., Testa, J., Eisenberg, B., von Mehren, M., Godwin, A.K. (2008) Insulin-like Growth Factor 1 Receptor is a Potential Therapeutic Target for Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors. Proc. Natl. Acad. Science, USA, 105(24):8387-8392. (┼ Authors have equal contribution.)
Microbiology (MICRO 106, MICRO 107)
Physiology (BIOL 141, BIOL 142, BiSC 4)
Biology (BIOL 110)