Discovery of Microproteins in Melanoma

2022 Emerging Leader Award

Sarah Slavoff, PhD, Yale University

Sarah Slavoff, PhD

Metastatic melanoma is the deadliest skin cancer, and while new drugs and immunotherapy have revolutionized treatment of this devastating disease, many patients rapidly develop adverse responses to treatment. However, the mechanisms behind such adverse events are poorly understood. Leading-edge studies have implicated a recently discovered class of small human genes that encode “microproteins” as critical regulators of cancer cell signaling pathways and inflammation. Here, Dr. Slavoff will test the hypothesis that microprotein dysregulation causes adverse treatment outcomes in melanoma, potentially opening the door to an entirely new universe of future diagnostic and therapeutic targets.

Dr. Slavoff received her BS from the University of Maryland, College Park, and her PhD in Chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University. In 2014, she joined the Chemistry Department at Yale University, where she uses proteomics and chemical biology to discover and characterize the biological importance of previously undiscovered human genes.

published research

Dai X, Park JJ, Du Y, Na Z, Lam SZ, Chow RD, Renauer PA, Gu J, Xin S, Chu Z, Liao C, Clark P, Zhao H, Slavoff S, Chen S. Massively parallel knock-in engineering of human T cells. Nat Biotechnol. 2023.

Chen Y, Cao X, Loh KH, Slavoff SA. Chemical labeling and proteomics for characterization of unannotated small and alternative open reading frame-encoded polypeptides. Biochem Soc Trans. 2023.

Mohsen JJ, Martel AA, Slavoff SA. Microproteins-Discovery, structure, and function. Proteomics. 2023.

Chen Y, Su H, Zhao J, Na Z, Jiang K, Bacchiocchi A, Loh KH, Halaban R, Wang Z, Cao X, Slavoff SA. Unannotated microprotein EMBOW regulates the interactome and chromatin and mitotic functions of WDR5. Cell Rep. 2023.