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Stephen Christopher Mack, PhD


Dr. Stephen C. Mack's research goals and interests lie at the intersection between the study of childhood brain tumors, cancer epigenetics, neuro-development, and translational oncology. Distinct molecular variants that comprise the tumor entity, ependymoma, create a diverse disease system to study several aspects of cancer biology, including tumor cellular origins, epigenetic programs, and transcriptional regulation. From a clinical perspective, the treatment for ependymoma - the third most common childhood brain tumor - has changed little over the last 20 years, and remains surgical resection followed by radiotherapy. As a result, any research progress on ependymoma has a potential to dramatically alter and improve the lives of patients with this aggressive brain tumor.

His research program is anticipated to provide an integrated genomics and epigenomics platform to pinpoint and functionally evaluate novel targets for ependymoma therapy. It will also provide a basis to understand the molecular, cellular, and developmental origins of this disease, in order to inform pre-clinical model establishment. He expects that data generated from this program will be informative to the clinical community, specifically to pediatric neuro-oncologists designing the next series of clinical trials for childhood ependymoma. It will also shed light upon the role of epigenetic modifiers in regulating tumor development and cancer dependencies, which will be of interest to the scientific community abroad.

His most notable contributions to research are:

1. Delineating the molecular subgroups of posterior fossa ependymoma. (Witt* and Mack* et al., Cancer Cell, 2011)

2. Mapping the mutational landscape of posterior fossa ependymoma (Mack et al., Nature., 2014)

3. Defining the active regulatory programs of ependymal tumors (Mack et al., Nature., 2017)