Many senior faculty members teaching in the Biology Department and in the University Honors Program remember Despina Siolas, M.D., PhD. as a particularly gifted undergraduate. She graduated in May 2001 and won just about every distinction St. John’s College and the University could confer.
She is presently a medical oncologist at NYU Langone Health and has just received a Mentored Clinical Scientist Research Center Development Award from the National Cancer Institute. This five-year research grant is only the second such grant ever received at NYU Langone Health in the field of Medical Oncology.
The NCI Mentored Clinical Scientist Research Career Development Award (K08) provides financial support and "protected time" to non-tenured clinician-scientists who are at an early stage in their academic career for an intensive, mentored research experience in translational cancer research. Dr. Siolas has been working in the prestigious laboratory of Dr. Dafna Bar-Sagi, a world-renowned expert in pancreatic cancer for five years. Her research grant is entitled “Investigating the non-cell autonomous immune effects of mutant p53 in pancreatic cancer.” Pancreatic cancer is likely to become the second leading cause of cancer-related death in U.S. by 2020.[i] In addition to her research, Dr. Siolas also actively treats cancer patients at NYU Langone’s Perlmutter Cancer Center, where she focuses on gastrointestinal oncology including liver cancer, colon cancer, esophageal cancer, stomach cancer, gallbladder cancer and her research specialty, pancreatic cancer. She is an active member of the American Society for Clinical Oncology, American Medical Association, American Association for Cancer Research and Hellenic Medical Society of New York. Dr. Siolas is a graduate of Stony Brook Medical School with dissertation research at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.