Leszek Kotula, Editorial Board Member
SUNY Upstate Medical University, New York, USA
The long-term goal of Professor Kotula’s research is aimed at identifying and understanding processes underlying human cancer and the establishment of preclinical cancer models that can be used for the development of personalized anti-cancer therapies. His career illustrates a passion for scientific discovery and original research, which is exemplified by publishing significant observations in high-impact peer-reviewed journals, two approved patents, and sustained federal funding (NIH or DoD) for over two decades. He has a long-standing interest in the Abi family of proteins and their role in human cancer. His research has established a novel Abi1-WAVE complex tumor suppressor pathway in prostate cancer and defined the biochemical, cellular, and in vivo function of Abi1 in the regulation of Abl and PI3 kinases, macropinocytosis, and embryonic development. In addition, his laboratory has generated the only currently available conditional knockout mouse for the Abi1 gene. Results obtained under his current NIH-NCI grant using Abi1/Pten KO mice indicate that Abi1 levels regulate prostate tumor progression. His team anticipate that the research on Abi1-WAVE complex will contribute to an improved understanding, diagnosis, and treatment of prostate cancer. A collaborative project with Dr. Hehnly is synergistic with their interests on understanding the mechanism of prostate cancer progression. They will contribute organoid cultures derived from patient prostate cancer tumors and will help to facilitate the translation of the findings to the clinic. During Professor Kotula’s career he was has collaborated with accomplished scientists representing multidisciplinary research, and these experiences have led him to value collaboration and mentorship. His collaborations have led to multidisciplinary publications (such as the recent publication with Dr. Pier Paolo Pandolfi at Harvard University) and collaborative grants (for example the recent grant with Dr. Swanson, University of Michigan). He has trained over 30 people with most postdoctoral fellows or higher having a least one first author publication in peer-reviewed journals. After their research training in his lab, the students and fellows advanced in their careers. He currently has three graduate students including one MD/PhD student and three senior scientists (10+yrs postdoc experience) working in his laboratory. Professor Kotula performs various administrative and University service functions that underscore his leadership qualities. This includes serving on the Board of Directors for the Research Foundation Mental Hygiene, Chair of the Institute Review Committee at the NYS Institute for Basic Research in Developmental Disabilities, and Co-Chair of the IRB at Lindsley F. Kimball Research Institute at the New York Blood Center. He is currently a Co-Director of the MD, PhD Program at SUNY Upstate Medical University. In addition, he is currently an Associate Editor of the journal Experimental Biology and Medicine. Finally, he serves as an adhoc reviewer of manuscripts for several journals including JBC, Oncogene, Cell Communication and Signaling, and Blood. He is the PI of the Institutional S10 high-end instrumentation grant for the Vevo 3100 ultrasound imaging system with 13 Co-PIs supporting 17 NIH projects.