Katerina Politi, PhD

Uniting Against Lung Cancer Welcomes Yale University’s Dr. Katerina Politi to Medical Committee

Katerina Politi, PhD from the Yale Cancer Center has joined the Uniting Against Lung Cancer (UALC) Medical Committee, adding her expertise to an elite group who guide UALC’s investment in innovative lung cancer research projects.

Dr. Politi is currently an Assistant Professor of Pathology and Medicine (Medical Oncology) at Yale. Dr. Politi began her work in lung cancer research training with Dr. Harold Varmus, winner of the Nobel Prize and current Director of the National Cancer Institute. During her training, Dr. Politi worked closely with teams making groundbreaking discoveries in lung cancer research, including the identification of mutations in EGFR (Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor) and its role as an oncogenic driver in lung cancer.

“I learned how lung cancer is a very devastating, deadly, and common disease, but at the same time was surrounded by so many scientists and clinicians coming together and making groundbreaking discoveries. The amazing transformations in the field happening at that time got me hooked on lung cancer research.”

Dr. Politi received funding from Uniting Against Lung Cancer in 2010 to start her own lung cancer research program at Yale, and has received funding from numerous lung cancer advocacy organizations and the National Institutes of Health to support her laboratory. In 2013, she received the Lynne Tarnopol Investigator Award from the Lung Cancer Research Foundation.

“The funding I received from UALC supported my early work and allowed me to pursue new directions of research. That support led to new grants and publications catapulting my research forward.”

Dr. Politi’s research interests include using preclinical models to study how EGFR contributes to lung cancer and how EGFR-mutant lung cancers become resistant to treatment. Mutations in EGFR are found in 10-20% of lung adenocarcinomas, the most common in tumors in never-smokers. Patients with EGFR mutant tumors initially respond to treatment with EGFR-targeted drugs, however drug-resistant disease almost invariably emerges within a year of starting treatment.

“I’m honored to work with Uniting Against Lung Cancer as part of the Medical Committee. I have been involved with the foundation since finishing my postdoc and, I know how important it is to fund these early ideas. As part of the Committee, I hope to help UALC continue to fund really transformative lung cancer research.”

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