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Lan Elected to the American Society for Clinical Investigation

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Duke Cancer Institute physician scientist Li Lan, MD, PhD, has been elected to the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI), one of the nation's oldest medical honor societies. The ASCI supports the scientific efforts, educational needs, and clinical aspirations of physician-scientists to improve health.

Lan joined Duke in August 2023 as a tenured associate professor in the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology. She previously served as a tenured associate professor at Harvard Medical School (2018-2023) and the University of Pittsburgh (2011-2018).

The major focus of her lab — previously situated at The Krantz Family Center for Cancer Research, Mass General Cancer Center — is drug development. She researches how cancer cells respond to DNA damage through DNA repair mechanisms and ways to target these pathways with innovative therapeutic strategies that will improve patient outcomes. (READ: School of Medicine Faculty Elected to American Society for Clinical Investigation)

"Our significant contributions include uncovering the critical role of PARP in DNA repair, leading to successful applications of PARP inhibitors in the treatment of breast, ovarian, and other types of cancer," said Lan in her Scholars@Duke bio. "We study how DNA responds to oxidative damage at specific chromosomal locations, significantly advancing our understanding of DNA damage response in different chromosomal environments. Furthermore, our recent investigations have revealed a novel mRNA and R-loop-dependent DNA repair pathway that acts as a protective mechanism for the transcribed regions of the genome, introducing a new paradigm in the field of DNA repair research."

Lan is currently PI on a five-year grant funded by the National Institutes of Health (Understanding and Targeting the R-Loop-Mediated DNA Damage Response at Telomeres) and the other a one-year grant funded by the Breast Cancer Alliance (Targeting R-Loop and m-RNA-dependent Repair in Homologous Recombination-Proficient Breast Cancer). She is also bringing several other grants with her to Duke, including her Harrington Scholar-Innovator Award and her Blavatnik Therapeutics Challenge Award — both of which focus on translational research aimed at enhancing cancer treatment.

Lan earned her MD/PhD at Tohoku University in Japan (2005 to 2011), and following a two-year medical residency chose to focus solely on research.

This page was reviewed on 01/08/2024