Mount Sinai Careers


New York, New York

Job Description

Dr. Tsankova is an NIH-funded Principal Investigator and Associate Professor, with more than six years of experience as an independent investigator, first at Columbia University and since 2014 at Mount Sinai. During this time, she has successfully trained several Master’s students, Ph.D. students, and a post-doctoral fellow, some of whom have already graduated. As an MD/PhD-trained and practicing physician scientist, Dr. Tsankova collaborates closely with neurosurgeons, neuro-oncologists, and participates in the clinical diagnostic molecular neuropathology service, which brings an important translational aspect to her basic research questions in neuro-oncology.

The lab’s main research focus is on understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms driving tumor initiation, migration, and recurrence in glioblastoma, with a particular focus on the role of epigenetics in shaping tumor phenotype. Our model systems include primary patient-derived glioma cell lines and patient-derived orthotopic xenograft mouse models. Through state-of-the-art biochemical and high throughput molecular techniques, we have begun to uncover genetic and epigenetic drivers of glioma stem cell growth and migration in the above models. Some of the commonly used techniques in the Tsankova lab include FACS isolation of glioma stem cell populations from fresh tissues, in vitro migration and proliferation assays, in vivo migration analyses in orthotopic xenografts, live cell imaging, CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing (knockout), bulk and single cell RNA-seq using the 10X chromium droplet-based technology, chromatin accessibility studies (ATAC-seq), chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP), and drug screening for new inhibitors of glioma cell migration.

There are two specific ongoing projects in the lab, in which the post-doctoral fellow is expected to concentrate their effort. The first one is on the role of the Hippo pathway and its downstream effectors YAP-TEAD in glioma growth and migration, and the mechanism of Hippo and EGFR crosstalk in this context. This project builds on recent findings in the lab that the transcription factor TEAD1 drives tumor migration in GBM and is a direct regulator of the EGFR gene. A second, related, project is to characterize the molecular drivers of tumor migration at the genomic, epigenomic, and transcriptome level in glioma populations isolated from the infiltrative tumor edge vs. those isolated from the tumor core, both in primary patient samples and in patient-derived xenografts.

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