Researcher Spotlight: Wen-Hsuan Wendy Lin, MD, PhD
Peripheral T-cell lymphomas (PTCL) represent a group of aggressive blood cancers with poor outcomes. A common phenomenon in PTCL is the development of a proinflammatory microenvironment, in which lymphoma cells recruit healthy cells that support tumor cell growth and lead to inflammation and possible autoimmunity. Dr. Lin’s LRF research is aimed at characterizing the inflammatory signals in PTCL to better understand this phenomenon. Using mouse models of PTCL, she then seeks to determine how interrupting these signals affects tumor growth. “If the strategies I proposed show a promising anti-lymphoma effect in pre-clinical mouse models,” she says, “it will bring us closer to developing these drugs into new targeted treatments for PTCL patients, which hopefully will prolong their lives and minimize their discomfort from getting the conventional chemotherapy.”
Dr. Lin is an Instructor and Attending Hematopathologist at Columbia University Irving Medical Center in NY. She earned her medical degree from National Cheng Kung University in Tainan, Taiwan and her PhD from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD. “Before I became a hematopathologist, I spent several years studying how normal T cells protect our body from pathogens,” she explains. “During my clinical training, I was struck by how devastating T-cell lymphomas are in terms of outcome and our limited treatment options.” Through LRF research project, Dr. Lin hopes to better understand the mechanisms that drive the transformation of T cells in lymphoma as well as design new therapies to target these aberrant cells.
Leveraging her background in immunology, pathology, and cancer biology, Dr. Lin hopes to one day become an independent physician scientist working in a multidisciplinary research program aimed at understanding T-cell lymphomas. “I want to translate findings from my lab to aid precision lymphoma diagnosis and treatment with the goal of treating everyone’s lymphoma individually and most optimally based on the tumor’s unique genetics and phenotypic features,” she says.