Geniver El Tekle successfully defended her Ph.D. thesis at the Institute of Oncology Research (IOR) in Bellinzona on April 20th, 2020.
Her thesis entitled “ Functional Characterization and Therapeutic Implications of SPOP Mutations in Endometrial and Prostate Cancer” was carried out in the Functional Cancer Genomics group directed by Prof. Jean-Philippe Theurillat at the IOR. The thesis focused on the role of missense mutations affecting the substrate-recognition domain of the ubiquitin ligase adaptor SPOP present in 5-15 % of endometrial and prostate cancer patients. The results uncovered an oncogenomics paradox and provided a molecular rationale for the use of BET inhibitors to treat patients with endometrial but not prostate cancer who harbor SPOP mutations. The discovery of her Ph.D. thesis has been awarded the best publication (age under 35) in la Ottava Giornata della Ricerca Clinica della Svizzera Italiana.
The PhD thesis committee was composed by Prof. Johanna A. Joyce (President and Rapporteur) professor in the Department of Oncology at the University of Lausanne, Prof. Jean-Philippe Theurillat (Thesis Director) of the Institute of Oncology Research, and the external examiners Prof. Andrea Alimonti of the Institute of Oncology Research and Prof. Gian-Paolo Dotto professor at the University of Lausanne and group leader at the Massachusetts General Hospital.