It’s Official – Join Us In Welcoming Dr. Kelly Banas

GEI is pleased to announce Kelly Banas, PhD, has earned her doctorate from the University of Delaware and joined the GEI team to continue her work supporting the Translational Science Group in the development of the lung cancer clinical protocol. Dr. Banas received mentorship and guidance from GEI Founder and Director, Eric B. Kmiec, PhD.

Dr. Banas’ dissertation on “Molecular Analyses of CRISPR-directed Gene Editing on the NRF2 Gene” will be published through ProQuest later this year. She said, “I selected this topic because of the potential clinical impact my research and discoveries would make for both lung cancer patients as well as the gene editing field.”  One of the most interesting and unexpected finding from her research was discovering several NRF2 mutations that occur in patients with Lung Squamous cell carcinoma, which create new recognition sites for selective disruption by CRISPR/Cas.

Looking at the bigger picture, she is eager to see how her research will play a part in guiding preclinical development of CRISPR-directed gene editing for solid tumors. “By using a patient’s tumor molecular profile,” she says, “we can selectively target cancer cells without disrupting normal functioning cells.” Her research has also addressed the need for thorough and complete characterization of all gene editing outcomes to fully understand the impact those edits can have on the cell.