Meet Our Students: David Shifteh and Tzuriel Sapir

David Shifteh and Tzuriel Sapir from Dr. Radhashree Maitra’s laboratory attended the 115th Annual Meeting of American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) at New Orleans from April 8-13, 2022. Both students had the privilege of presenting their research data as posters. AACR is the oldest and largest professional association related to cancer research, with over 50,000 active members, and each year, about 20,000 to 30,000 scientists and clinicians attend the annual meetings. (With the exception, of course, during the pandemic.)

This was the third successive year that Dr. Maitra’s laboratory has published abstracts at the AACR: FGFR3 and eIF4E are overexpressed and interact with PRMT5 and KRAS in CRC, Protein arginine methyltransferase 5 as a therapeutic target for KRAS mutated colorectal cancer and PRMT5 is positively correlated with and interacts with the ERK1/2 & PI3K Pathways in CRC (which will be formally published in June 2022).


shifteh sapir maitra cancer
(l-r): David Shifteh and Tzuriel Sapir


The students express their deepest gratitude to their mentor Dr. Radhashree Maitra for her excellent mentoring and research support during their undergraduate years. Sapir mentioned that “during these years under the guidance of Dr. Maitra, we discovered a novel interaction between the proteins PRMT5 and KRAS and published two papers detailing our findings (PMID: 33288733; PMID: 32731506) . Our discovery is of great significance as KRAS is a prominent cancer-promoting onco-protein that is frequently mutated in several cancer types. It is excruciatingly difficult to develop a drug targeting the mutant KRAS protein. Thus, our discovery opens the door for a way to reduce mutant KRAS activity, by not drugging KRAS directly but by drugging PRMT5—an alternate and easier protein target.”

Shifteh noted that “it was a fabulous opportunity to meet with other scientists and discuss our work. I especially enjoyed meeting one scientist from Barcelona, whose paper was cited in one of our publications. We gained a tremendous amount of knowledge and exposure from this experience, and we sincerely hope that YU can continue fostering the spirit of education and scientific collaboration by encouraging and providing funding for other students to pursue research and attend conferences of this kind.”

The students also appreciate the support provided by Dr. Selma Botman, Dr. Karen Bacon, Dr. Edward Berliner and Dr. Sumanta Goswami, chair of the biology department.  They also wanted to give special thanks to Mr. Nicholas Pitsirikos for organizing the entire process. They also want to convey their heartfelt thanks to Yeshiva College faculty and staff who provided them with this opportunity and the funding necessary to attend the conference.