Stephen Lessnick, MD, PhD
Stephen Lessnick, MD, PhD, is director of the Center for Childhood Cancer & Blood Diseases for The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital, a physician for the Division of Hematology and Oncology at Nationwide Children's Hospital and a professor of pediatrics at The Ohio State University College of Medicine.
Dr. Lessnick earned his bachelor's degree from Brandeis University, followed by MD and PhD degrees from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), as part of the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP). He trained in pediatrics at Children’s Hospital, Boston, and in pediatric hematology/oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Children’s Hospital, Boston. Dr. Lessnick was on-faculty at the University of Utah for approximately 11 years. In July 2015, Dr. Lessnick joined the faculty at The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital as the Director of the Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Diseases and The Ohio State University as a Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology/BMT.
Dr. Lessnick has spent his research career studying Ewing sarcoma and EWS/FLI. EWS/FLI is the “driver mutation” in Ewing sarcoma and functions as a master regulator of gene expression. His laboratory focuses on understanding how EWS/FLI functions with the idea that this understanding will lead to more effective treatments for patients with this highly aggressive pediatric, adolescent, and young-adult cancer.
Graduate Research Fellow
I am originally from West Virginia and moved to Columbus in June 2016 to begin my first year in the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program at OSU. Our lab works on Ewing sarcoma, which is a pediatric and AYA bone- and soft-tissue-associated cancer. Although the driver mutation of this cancer (EWS/FLI) was discovered almost 30 years ago, we still lack a full understanding of how it functions to drive oncogenesis. My project in the lab focuses on elucidating the basic biology of EWS/FLI, particularly how the FLI domain contributes to disease formation. My long-term research interests are in translating basic research findings to the clinic to better patient outcomes.
Julia earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Molecular Biomedicine from the University of Münster in Germany in 2007 and 2010. She is a lab manager in the Lessnick Lab and involved in Ewing Sarcoma research.
Jessed graduated from OSU with a BS in Molecular Genetics in 2016. She is currently a technician in the Lessnick lab working to support post docs and grad students in the lab.
Senior Bioinformatics Scientist
Dr. Taslim earned her master's degree in Computer Science Engineering and her PhD in Industrial Engineering from the Ohio State University. She completed her postdoctoral training in the Department of Statistics and Comprehensive Cancer Center. In 2016, she joined the Research Institute at Nationwide Children's hospital providing bioinformatics support for the Center, specifically in analyzing and interpreting high throughput genomic data. Her work focuses on development and application of machine learning and statistical approaches to understand biological systems.
Graduate Research Associate
My research focuses on elucidating the role of EWS/FLI (a fusion oncoprotein) in defining the 3D chromatin landscape that regulates the oncogenic transcriptional profile in Ewing sarcoma.