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Claudia Capparelli, PhD, Named Merit Award Recipient

Claudia Capparelli, PhD, Research Instructor in the Cancer Biology Department at Jefferson University, is a proud recipient of a Legacy of Hope Merit Award.

Dr. Capparelli began her research at Jefferson through their long-standing partnership with University of Calabria (UNICAL).

"America is a must for research," says Dr. Capparelli, who received her PhD from the University of Calabria. "The partnership [between Jefferson and UNICAL] made coming to Philadelphia an easy choice."

Dr. Capparelli's initial PhD research focused on the use of anabolic steroids and the possible links to an increase in risk of breast cancer. She continued her breast cancer-focused research when she arrived at Jefferson in the lab of Dr. Michael Lisanti.

In 2012, Dr. Capparelli began her post-doctoral fellowship with Dr. Andrew Aplin focusing on the role of proteins within the microenvironments that affect their response to therapies. She generated the preclinical data that lead to the start of a clinical trials for melanoma patients. Dr. Capparelli's goal is to identify alterations that allow cancer cells to metastasize and survive during treatments. While her current research focuses on skin cancer specifically, the hope is that this research will be translated to other types of cancer with similar protein mutations, including lung and breast cancer.

Dr. Wm. Kevin Kelly, Jefferson's director Division of Solid Tumor Oncology and chair of the Legacy of Hope scientific review committee, encouraged Dr. Capparelli to apply for the award. “Dr. Capparelli is a talented young investigator working with Dr. Aplin to better understand the complex cell signaling network in melanoma. [This has] led to novel clinical trials for patient with advanced melanoma.”

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