Recorded: 08 Jun 2004
Yeah. I came to the symposium on epigenetics because I have a long-standing interest in epigenetics. Despite I’m a geneticist; I view the behavior of cancer cells as the result of not only of genetic alteration, but also epigenetic alteration. That is the reason I am here because cancer is in a way recapitulates a lot of development and other processes that involve epigenetic changes. So I think it is very exciting that there is this kind of international gathering of people discussing a topic on which I have an interest for a long time. That is why I was here.
At this moment we are still working on gene regulation in cancer cell, in particular on epigenetic mechanism that can silence genes in cancer cells. I have also here maybe a different opinion from other scientists in the field. I believe that the inactivity of genes attracts silencing. In other words if you don’t use certain genes they will be permanently silenced. It’s a use it or lose it like for our muscles; if you don’t use it they become atrophic. In other words we need to keep our genes conditioned in order not to have them silenced for good. So this is what I am working now on. I presented this data here at Cold Spring Harbor at this meeting.
Nicoletta Sacchi, Ph.D., is a Professor and Distinguished Member of the Department of Cancer Biology at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York where she has been focusing on gene regulation in cancer cells since 2003. Native to Milan, Italy, she received her Ph.D. from the University of Milan in 1972, followed by postdoctoral work at Erasmus University, Rotterdam, at the Roche Institute of Immunology in Basel under Nobelist Georges Köhler.
In 1982 she came to the United States to continue her postdoctoral training at the National Cancer Institute. She returned to Italy in 1991 to become an Associate Professor at the University of Milan, until 1997 when she decided to make the US her home. That year she became a Visiting Scientist at Johns Hopkins University.
In 2002 Dr. Sacchi, was named the most cited women scientist and the 18th most cited scientist worldwide That year she received recognition for having the most quoted paper over the 20 year period from 1983 to 2002, "Single-step method of RNA isolation by acid guanidinium thiocyanate phenol chloroform extraction" Analytical Biochemistry 162(1):156-9,1987, which she co-wrote with Piotr Chomczynski.. This article has been cited over 56,000 times as of January, 2008.
Dr. Sacchi has been awarded the EMBO Award (1974 and 1981), the Soroptimist International Award (1976), AIRC Award (1984), the Gianina Gaslini Medal (1989), and the BIOTEC Award (1989.)