Emadi Cancer Lab Team

Principal Investigator

Dr. Ashkan Emadi, MD, PhD.

Dr. Emadi is a hematologist/medical oncologist and an organic chemist; he is a Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and Marlene & Stewart Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center (UMGCCC). He has served as a medical officer at the Division of Hematology Products (DHP), United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). As an organic chemist, Dr. Emadi's breakthrough invention of using hydroxyquinone anion as active methylene to form a chemical bond between two SP2 carbons in quinone systems accelerated high yield synthesis of anti-neoplastic and anti-microbial medicinal compounds worldwide. As a molecular pharmacologist, he was the first to report that in adults with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) plasma glutamine (Gln) can safely be depleted to an undetectable level with promising anti-leukemic effect. In his lab, Dr. Emadi directs cutting-edge translational patient-centered research focused on exploiting cancer metabolism particularly the glutamine dependency of cancers. His discovery of the combination of venetoclax (Ven) and pegcrisantaspase (PegC) as a novel, well tolerated and highly active regimen in vivo for the treatment of AML with a complex karyotype is potentially paradigm shifting for the treatment of poor risk AML. Clinically, Dr. Emadi is completely involved in the care of his patients. Through his time attending on inpatient leukemia service and his busy outpatient clinic, he sees > 2000 patient visits per year. Education and mentorship remain cornerstones of Dr. Emadi's professional mandate. During his tenure of program director for UMGCCC hematology/oncology fellowship program, he expanded the size of the program and implemented curricular updates and strengthened faculty research mentoring to stimulate additional scholarly activity for the trainees. The University of Maryland Hematology/Oncology program is now highly sought out among applicants nationally. Dr. Emadi has mentored numerous clinical/research post-doctoral fellows, who now hold independent faculty positions. He is the Founder and the Presenter of popular Baltimore Oncopharmacology Lecture Series "Pharmacology of Chemotherapeutic Agents from Nitrogen Mustard to Modern Immunotherapies". As UMGCCC's associate director for clinical research, Dr. Emadi oversees all clinical research activities and has scientific and administrative oversight of the Clinical Protocol & Data Management (CPDM) group, the Protocol Review and Monitoring System (PRMS) and the Early Phase Clinical Research Support enterprise. He creates strategic planning of clinical research initiatives and guides implementation of standard operating procedures. He formulates initiatives to enhance enrollment, especially of underrepresented minorities, in clinical trials.

Research Associate

Dr. Dominique Bollino, PhD.

Dominique obtained a B.S. in Biology from Frostburg State University and a Ph.D. in Molecular Medicine from the University of Maryland Baltimore. She completed postdoctoral studies with Dr. Tonya Webb in the Microbiology and Immunology Department at UMB, investigating the immunosuppressive mechanisms of ovarian cancer. In 2019 she became the first member of the Emadi laboratory and her work is focused on exploring the impact of glutamine depletion alone or in combination with other therapeutics in both hematological and solid malignancies.

Graduate Student

Kanwal Mahmood, MS.

Kanwal is a second-year graduate student in the GPILS Molecular Medicine Program at the University of Maryland, School of Medicine. She is a native Marylander and received her Bachelors in Biological Sciences from UMBC. After which, she attended Georgetown University and obtained her Masters in Tumor Biology in 2018. Her Masters thesis focused on the Cholecystokinin B Receptor in the context of Gastric Cancer and Immunotherapy. She gained additional research experience as a Research Fellow at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration where her project focused on the ΔNp63 pathway and downstream effectors as potential therapeutic biomarkers in the context of HNSCC. She is interested in Translational Oncology Research and Pharmacology. The Emadi Research Lab is a ideal fit where she is able to witness drugs go from the bench to bedside in real-time. She plans to gain experience in identifying potential biomarkers and altering metabolism in the context of hematological cancers under the guidance of Drs. Emadi and Bollino. Upon completion of the GPILS program and her Ph.D. she hopes to pursue a career at the FDA as a full-time Drug Reviewer.