News

January 2024Dr. Joakin Mori was invited to participate in the PAIR-UP Advance Imaging Workshop for Black Imaging Scientists @ Zeiss in Dublin, CA.


January 2024 – We are excited that Kenel Dufort is joining the lab. As a molecular biologist and translational cancer researcher, Kenel brings experience in immunohistochemistry, biomarker validation, and cancer vaccine development. Welcome Kenel!


December 2023 – Wonderful way to end the year – a Notice of Award from the NCI on our R21 “Delineating the myeloid-centric immunosuppressive crosstalk as targets for prognosis and therapy in neuroendocrine tumors“. Looking forward to starting this project with the Dries Lab and Singhi Lab in the new year!


December 2023 – Thanks to Dr. Alan Meeker from The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine for visiting the BU/BMC campus. Along with Dr. Joakin Mori, he was in town to participate in the American Society for Cell Biology – National Science Foundation Faculty Research and Education Development (FRED) Program.


December 2023 – We are excited to welcome Lin Chen to the lab! Lin is currently a 2nd year medical student at Boston University School of Medicine.


November 2023 – Busy week for the lab! Dr. Joakin Mori participated in the week-long AACR Translational Cancer Research for Basic Scientists Workshop and Dr. Heaphy presented at the Neuroendocrine Tumor Research Foundation Annual Research Symposium.


November 2023 – Excited to share our latest article in Nature Reviews Urology on the prognostic and therapeutic potential of senescent stromal fibroblasts in prostate cancer, led by Dr. Joakin Mori


November 2023 – We are excited to welcome Carlo Lanza to the lab! Carlo is currently a second-year undergraduate student majoring in Medical Sciences as part of BU’s Seven-Year Liberal Arts/Medical Education Program.


October 2023 – Dr. Joakin Mori presented his study “Linking stress to cellular senescence in the prostate cancer microenvironment” at the 2023 BU Department of Medicine Evans Day. BU  students, Koushik Gadhachanda and Natalia Feced Garcia, contributed to the study.


September 2023 – We are proud to be a part of this awesome group – the Section of Hematology and Medical Oncology at Boston Medical Center and Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine.


September 2023 – Thanks to our longtime collaborator and friend, Dr. Seung-Mo Hong, for visiting us from South Korea! And congrats on becoming the Chair of Pathology at ASAN Medical Center in Seoul.


August 2023 – Thank you to the Neuroendocrine Tumor Research Foundation (NETRF) for highlighting our research and recent success in grant funding.


August 2023 – Thankful to National Cancer Center for funding our MPI R01! Excited to work with Dr. Alan Meeker and the Hopkins team to continue evaluating our telomere biomarker as a tool to inform decision-making for aggressive salvage therapy in men with rising PSA post prostatectomy.


August 2023Dr. Joakin Mori has been selected as a recipient of a collaborative Peer Imaging Clusters (PIC) research grant through the The PAIR-UP Imaging Science program for Black imaging scientists. He will be working with colleagues from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Mayo Clinic, and University of Delaware on a project titled “Beyond diffraction limited imaging: Predicting cancer and immune cell phenotype“. Congrats Joakin!


June 2023 – Thank you to the Boston Medical Center for awarding our lab the 2023 Cancer Research Innovator Award.


May 2023Dr. Heaphy has been appointed to the Nominating Committee for the North American Neuroendocrine Tumor Society (NANETS).


May 2023We are excited to have two BU undergraduate students, Natalia Feced Garcia and Koushik Gadhachanda, join our lab for the summer and upcoming academic year. Welcome!


April 2023 – Congratulations to Dr. Joakin Mori who has been invited to participate in the American Society for Cell Biology – National Science Foundation Faculty Research and Education Development (FRED) Program! His outside faculty mentor will be Dr. Alan Meeker from the Department of Pathology at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.


April 2023 – We are grateful to the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP) Rare Cancers Research Program for recommending to fund two of our proposals on the same day! We look forward to getting the chance to spatially map PanNETs (Concept Award) with the Dries Lab and uncover genetic vulnerabilities in PanNETs (Idea Development Award) with the Flynn Lab.


April 2023 – Check out our new preprint on bioRxiv in collaboration with the De Marzo Lab (Johns Hopkins)Chromogenic detection of telomere lengths in situ aids the identification of precancerous lesions in the prostate.  This novel “Telo-CISH” assay allows simultaneous assessment of histomorphology, identification of specific cell types, and assessment of telomeres. This assay will extend the clinical applicability of tissue-based telomere measurements. Update: Now published in The Prostate.


April 2023Dr. Joakin Mori participated in the PAIR-UP Live Cell Imaging Workshop @ UNC Chapel-Hill. The workshop is designed to provide training in advanced microscopy (Nikon Ti2, Zeiss spectral detector and Leica FALCON, and TILT lightsheet and 3X tau-STED).


March 2023 – Congratulations to our collaborator, Dr. Wenzel Hackeng (University Medical Center Utrecht), for winning the prestigious 2023 Håkan Ahlman Award at the Annual European Neuroendocrine Tumor Society (ENETS) Conference in Vienna for our Gut 2022 paper. Our collaborative publication was identified by ENETS as highly translational and extremely relevant to the NET field.


March 2023 – Congratulations to Dr. Joakin Mori for receiving a competitive invitation to attend the PAIR-UP Funding Competition Scientific Conference: Hallmarks of Aging and Nutrition in Tempe, AZ.


February 2023 – Congratulations to the Dries Lab for receiving the BU-BMC Cancer Center ACS Pilot award! We are excited to collaborate and help dissect the spatiotemporal mechanisms underlying breast cancer progression.

February 2023We are grateful to the Neuroendocrine Tumor Research Foundation for funding our exciting new project with the Dries Lab to perform spatial transcriptomic profiling of the PanNET tumor microenvironment.

January 2023 – Thank you to the Department of Medicine at BU/BMC for the continued support of our lab as we pursue new experiments characterizing the tumor microenvironment with novel spatial transcriptomic tools.

November 2022 – Congratulations to Dr. Joakin Mori for receiving a competitive invitation to attend the PAIR-UP Advance Imaging Workshop for Black Imaging Scientists at Rockefeller University Bio-Imaging Resource Center.

October 2022 – Congratulations to Alexis Kiyanda for presenting her BU STaRS research project and winning the Third Place Award at the Region VII Medical Education Conference (RMEC) Research Symposium in CT!


October 2022 – Wonderful time seeing our friends and collaborators at the 2022 NANETS Multidisciplinary NET Medical Symposium in Washington, DC! This year, Dr. Heaphy was part of the NANETS Symposium Planning Committee Leadership and a co-moderator of the “NIH/NCI Research Retreat”.


August 2022 – Congratulations to Alexis Kiyanda for successfully presenting her BU STaRS research project “Differential protein expression of lamin A/C and cytokeratin-19 in Black and White patients with prostate cancer“.


August 2022 – Check out our latest collaborative review articles on PanNET biomarkers: The Diagnostic and Prognostic Utility of Incorporating DAXX, ATRX, and Alternative Lengthening of Telomeres (ALT) to the Evaluation of Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumors (PanNETs) in Human Pathology; Prognostic and predictive biomarkers for pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors in Surgical Pathology Clinics; Clinical implications of cell-of-origin epigenetic characteristics in non-functional pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors in Journal of Pathology.


July 2022 – Thanks to Marija Stojanova for all her contributions to the lab and we wish her well in her new position!

June 2022 – We are excited to have Alexis Kiyanda join our lab this summer to participate in the Summer Training as Research Scholars Program (STaRS)!

May 2022 – Congratulations to Dr. Joakin Mori for accepting a competitive invitation to attend the PAIR-UP Advance Imaging Workshop for Black Imaging Scientists at Vanderbilt University and sponsored by The American Society for Cell Biology.

May 2022 – Congratulations to Elizabeth Nelson and Griffin Salus for graduating from BU!

May 2022 – Congratulations to Griffin Salus for successfully defending his Master’s thesis titled “Lamin A/C Downregulation Alters Prostate Cancer Cellular Phenotypes” from the Program of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at BU.

April 2022Dr. Heaphy presented “Clinicopathological and molecular characteristics of ALT-positive cancers” virtually at the Telomeres and Cancer Biology International Conference hosted by the German Cancer Research Center (DFKZ) and Heidelberg University Hospital.

April 2022Congratulations to Elizabeth Nelson and Griffin Salus for presenting posters (in person) at Experimental Biology in Philadelphia, PA! Elizabeth presented “Investigating the Molecular and Phenotypic Differences in Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumor (PanNET) Cells with Functional Loss of Either ATRX or DAXX” and Griffin presented “Lamin A/C Downregulation Alters Prostate Cancer Cellular Phenotypes“.

March 2022Dr. Heaphy has joined the Editorial Board of Endocrine-Related Cancer, the official flagship journal of the Society for Endocrinology.

February 2022Dr. Heaphy has been appointed the Chair of the Scientific Review & Research Committee for the North American Neuroendocrine Tumor Society (NANETS).

February 2022 – Check out our latest collaborative articles deposited on the preprint servers bioRxiv and medRxiv: Novel plasma exosome biomarkers for prostate cancer progression in co-morbid metabolic disease (with Denis Lab at BU); Therapeutic vulnerability to ATR inhibition in concurrent NF1 and ATRX-deficient high-grade solid tumors (with Rodriguez Lab at UCLA); A high-throughput approach measures cell type-specific telomere lengths in fixed archival tissues from patient cohorts for research on prognosis (with Meeker Lab at Johns Hopkins).

February 2022Latest collaborative work in Ophthalmology with investigators at Wills Eye Hospital and Johns Hopkins Hospital confirms frequent mutations in ATRX, NF1, NRAS, and BRAF in conjunctival melanoma. Interestingly, loss of ATRX and ALT activation may represent early molecular alterations in conjunctival melanoma development.

January 2022 – Welcome to Dr. Joakin Mori – he joins the Heaphy Lab as a postdoctoral fellow. Dr. Mori recently completed his doctoral work in prostate cancer research at Tuskegee University.

November 2021 – Check out our latest collaborative review article highlighting the “Clinical implications of cell-of-origin epigenetic characterizes in non-functional pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors” in the Journal of Pathology.

October 2021 – Congratulations to Marija Stojanova for successfully presenting her poster at the BU Department of Medicine Evans Day that highlighted her research project “Cellular characterization of prostate cancer cells with functional loss of ATRX or DAXX“.

July 2021Molecular Minute article in Cancer Cytopathology written with Dr. Christopher VandenBussche (Johns Hopkins Hospital) in which we evaluate the current prognostic biomarkers in pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors, including ATRX/DAXX loss and ALT.

June 2021Our latest collaborative work with Dr. Fausto Rodriguez and colleagues at Johns Hopkins Hospital was published in Modern Pathology. We demonstrate that, in addition to ATRX loss, ALT-positive tumors harboring SMARCAL1 alterations are prevalent in giant cell GBM.

June 2021 – Along with Dr. Josh Campbell and Dr. Rachel Flynn, the Heaphy Lab is honored to receive a BU CTSI Integrated Pilot Grant! The overall goal of this pilot project is to identify coding and non-coding genomic alterations in the racially and socioeconomically diverse patient population surgically treated for prostate cancer at Boston Medical Cancer.

April 2021Wonderful international collaboration with colleagues from the US, The Netherlands, Italy, and Republic of Korea to evaluate biomarkers in non-functional PanNETS. Our manuscript ATRX/DAXX and alternative lengthening of telomeres (ALT) are prognostically independent from ARX/PDX1 expression and tumour size was recently published in Gut

January 2021 – Congratulations to Elizabeth Nelson for receiving funding for the Spring semester through the Boston University Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP)!

January 2021 – We are excited to have two undergraduate students, Elizabeth Nelson and Griffin Salus, join our lab. Welcome Elizabeth and Griffin!

December 2020 – Congratulations to our collaborators at Johns Hopkins, Dr. Elizabeth Platz and Dr. Alan Meeker, for being awarded an R01 from the National Cancer Institute titled “Stromal senescence in lethal prostate cancer: a novel target for prognosis and therapy“. We are excited to collaborate with them on this important study!

November 2020 – Congratulations to Elizabeth Nelson for being awarded a top poster award in Cancer Biology at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS)! Her poster described her research from this summer as part of the STaRS program!

September 2020 – We are thankful to be selected for a Shipley Prostate Cancer Pilot Grant from the Boston University School of Medicine! We are excited to evaluate telomere length alterations and nuclear lamin dysfunction in the diverse patient population at Boston Medical Center.

September 2020Dr. Heaphy has been appointed as a member on the Shipley Advisory Committee for the Shipley Prostate Cancer Research Center at Boston University. It will be exciting to help continue to expand the footprint of prostate cancer research on campus.

June 2020Dr. Heaphy has been appointed as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine at the Boston University School of Medicine. We look forward to establishing collaborations with our clinical and basic science colleagues in the Department.


June 2020 – We are excited to have two undergraduate students, Elizabeth Nelson and Rachel Choate, virtually join our lab this summer to participate in the Summer Training as Research Scholars Program (STaRS). Welcome Elizabeth and Rachel!


March 2020 – Through collaborative efforts, the Heaphy Lab has contributed to studies in prostate cancer that were published back-to-back this month in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention! Check out High extra-tumoral mast cell counts are associated with a higher risk of adverse prostate cancer outcomes and Racial difference in prostate cancer cell telomere lengths in men with higher-grade prostate cancer: a clue to the racial disparity in prostate cancer outcomes.


February 2020 – We are thankful and excited to be selected for a BU-BMC Cancer Center Pilot and Feasibility Program sponsored by ACS! We will be working on Modeling Alternative Lengthening of Telomeres (ALT) as a distinct molecular subclass of cancer.

February 2020 – Congratulations to our colleague, Dr. Jessica Petrick, for being selected for a BU-BMC Cancer Center Pilot and Feasibility Program sponsored by ACS! We are excited to collaborate with her and her team to evaluate Helicobacter Pylori and Colorectal Cancer in African American Women.

January 2020 – We are really excited that Marija Stojanova has decided to join our lab as a Research Assistant/Lab Manager. She will be instrumental in getting the Heaphy lab off the ground at BU/BMC. Welcome, Marija!

November  2019Coming this week: the Heaphy Lab will be at the Boston University School of Medicine/Boston Medical Center!

October 2019Today is definitely bittersweet – Johns Hopkins has been an outstanding place….we will miss our colleagues and friends, but look forward to future collaborations!