Notre Dame graduate student receives first prize at IU Simon Cancer Center’s annual research day

Author: Brandi Klingerman

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Unnamed 49Notre Dame researchers at the IU Simon Cancer Center's annual Cancer Research Day. Chen Dai is pictured in the first row, second from the left.

Chen Dai, University of Notre Dame graduate student of chemistry and biochemistry, was recognized at the Indiana University (IU) Simon Cancer Center’s annual Cancer Research Day. Dai received first prize for his poster presentation in the basic science – graduate student category.

Dai’s poster presentation was on the topic of breast cancer metabolism and what effects different oncogenes, or drivers, of breast cancer can have on tumor metabolism. This is important because these varying metabolic drivers have the potential to be used as an indication of a prognosis or as a target for therapeutics. 

Specifically, Dai worked on a team in the lab of Laurie Littlepage, Campbell Family Assistant Professor of Cancer Research and affiliated member of the Harper Cancer Research Institute (HCRI), focusing on a specific metabolic driver called Aquaporin-7 and found that reducing its levels led to smaller tumors and less metastasis in their models. The researchers were also able to find the change in metabolism as they reduced the Aquaporin-7 levels and identify potential targets for future studies.

“I was grateful to have the opportunity to present my poster at the IU Cancer Research Day and be awarded for the research I worked on with the rest of the Littlepage lab,” said Dai. “I look forward to continuing work on this breast cancer metabolism research and seeing what other discoveries our team can make.”

The IU Simon Cancer Center’s annual Cancer Research Day is a two-day event with students, fellows, and faculty researchers from IU, IUPUI, Purdue University, and the HCRI. Awards were presented to best posters by graduate students, post-doctoral and medical fellows, research technicians, and clinical nurses.

To learn more about the event, please visit


Brandi R. Klingerman / Research Communications Specialist

Notre Dame Research / University of Notre Dame / 574.631.8183 / @UNDResearch

About Notre Dame Research:

The University of Notre Dame is a private research and teaching university inspired by its Catholic mission. Located in South Bend, Indiana, its researchers are advancing human understanding through research, scholarship, education, and creative endeavor in order to be a repository for knowledge and a powerful means for doing good in the world. For more information, please see or @UNDResearch.