FIREFLY FRONTIERS WINNER: Maureen Lane

Maureen E. Lane, PhD, is an Assistant Professor and the Director of the Clinical Translational Core Laboratory within the division of Hematology and Medical Oncology and The Leukemia Biorepository and Personalized Medicine Center at Weill Cornell Medical College of Cornell University. Her passion is to improve cancer treatment by developing and validating targeted treatment combinations and identifying circulating biomarkers of response and resistance to targeted treatment. She will use her Firefly Frontiers Grant to identify novel markers of early lung cancer that will lead to efficacious targets for non-small cell lung cancer diagnosis and treatment.

What fascinates you most about microRNAs?

I think the most fascinating thing about microRNAs is that these small non-protein coding RNAs are important regulators that have a tremendous impact on cell proliferation, differentiation, apoptosis, metabolism and oncogenesis.  This makes miRNAs a promising target for developing novel therapeutic strategies.  The understanding of how miRNAs work can provide valuable information about the molecular mechanisms associated with tumor progression and metastasis.   

Where do you see the miRNA field headed in the next 5 years? What areas are most promising for breakthrough discoveries?

I think we will see huge discoveries in ways to monitor tumor development, tumor progression and develop predictive biomarkers.  

What is your biggest pain point when it comes to microRNA research?

Deciding what microRNAs to interrogate when you have limited amount of clinical sample.

What advantages does FirePlex® miRSelect bring to your research?

The ability to multiplex microRNA expression analysis.