top of page

Our Team

Baylee Porter, Dr. Leszek Kotula, Maria Ortiz, and Xiang Li

sucess qualifying exam BP_edited.jpg

Baylee Porter

PhD Candidate, 3rd Year

Project Summary: Prostate cancer is a commonly diagnosed cancer in males in the United States and the second-leading cause of cancer-related death. Advanced and metastatic disease is usually treated with surgery, radiation, or adjuvant hormonal therapy but tumors often recur with acquired drug resistance, making them difficult to treat. We propose to study dysregulation of Abelson interactor 1 (Abi1) and androgen receptor pathway, at a transcriptional and protein level, as a novel mechanism contributing to prostate tumor progression, metastasis, and acquired drug resistance and anticipate characterizing Abi1 as a potential treatment target in aggressive prostate cancer.

Xiang Li_edited.jpg

Xiang Li

PhD Candidate, 3rd Year

Project Summary: Castrate-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) has a high morbidity rate due to metastasis and treatment inefficacy. Previous work in our lab has identified ABI1 as a key tumor suppressor in prostate cancer, through suppression of EMT by inhibiting Wnt5a-FYN-STAT3 pathway. My research project focuses on studying the molecular mechanism of ABI1-FYN-STAT3 interactions and their significance in AR-independent CRPC progression through both biochemical and cellular assays. Also, I am interested in demonstrating the therapeutic potential of targeting the Wnt5a-FYN-STAT3 pathway in genetic engineered mouse models. 


Maria A. Ortiz

MD/PhD Graduate Student, PhD 1 

Project Summary: Immunotherapies have revolutionized cancer treatment and improved outcomes in patients who were previously out of options. Our understanding of the immune system and how T-cells function to prevent cancer development has made the development of such therapies possible. My thesis work will test the role of ABI1, a known actin polymerization, adhesion molecule and tyrosine kinase regulator in T-cell activation and development, and its role in anti-tumor immunity.

bottom of page