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Feyruz V. Rassool

Feyruz V. Rassool Ph.D.

Academic Title: Associate Professor
Primary Appointment: Radiation Oncology
Location: BRB 8-037
Phone: (410) 706-5337
Fax: (410) 706-6666
Lab: (410) 706-5338

Personal History:


BSc Hons, Human Genetics
University College London , June, 1983.

Ph.D., Biological Sciences
University of London , Jan, 1990.
Royal Postgraduate Medical School
Title: Human Leukemia and the BCR Gene (Supervisor: Prof. John Goldman)

Positions Held:

Postdoctoral Fellow, Section of Hematology/Oncology, University of Chicago
10/89-6/94. (Mentors: Professors Michelle Le Beau and Timothy McKeithan)

Research Associate, Section of Hematology/Oncology, University of Chicago
7/94 - 5/96

Research Associate (Assistant Prof.), Section of Hematology/Oncology, University of Chicago
5/96- 4/98

Lecturer, Guy's, King's, Thomas's School of Medicine, London, UK.

Head of Genomic Instability Laboratory, 5/98-1/05

Associate Professor, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, US , 1/05-present

Research Interests:

Chromosomal instability is a characteristic feature of cancers. My primary research interest is to elucidate the molecular basis for genomic instability multiple cancers, including, myeloid malignancies, breast and ovarian cancers. We have accrued evidence that genomic instability may be driven by a combination of ongoing constitutive DNA damage coupled with increased activity of the error-prone non homologous end-joining (NHEJ) pathway which results in improper repair of double strand breaks (DSB). This cycle of DNA damage and misrepair is driven by endogenous reactive oxygen species production, a likely source for genomic instability in myeloid leukemias and premalignant syndromes. We have also identified increased activity of the alternative and highly error-prone NHEJ pathways (ALT NHEJ) in both tyrosine kinase activated myeloid leukemias and triple negative breast cancer. Moreover, this increased activity is due to transcriptional regulation of key ALT NHEJ components poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP1) and DNA ligase III (LIG3). MYC appears at least in part responsible for increased expression of ALT NHEJ factors.

My group is actively pursuing the following goals:

  1. To identify and characterize the protein complexes pre- and -post DNA damage at DSB in cancer.
  2. To determine the signal transduction pathways important in the creation of oxygen radicals in myeloid malignancies.
  3. To determine the regulation of error-prone NHEJ.
  4. To generate models for genomic instability in mice.
  5. To determine the role histone deacetylase inhibitors and demethylating agents in abnormal DNA damage and repair in cancer.

Clinical Speciality:

  • Myeloid leukemias: CML and AML
  • Breast and Ovarian cancer

Lab Techniques and Equipment:


  • Immunostaining for DNA damage and repair proteins
  • General molecular biology
  • General biochemistry techniques
  • Colony survival in methyl cellulose
  • Functional DNA repair assays
  • Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP)
  • Luciferase assays
  • Xenograft studies (in collaboration with the Translational Core laboratory)


  • General equipment for molecular biology, biochemistry and tissue culture techniques
  • Q-PCR machine
  • Fluorescence microscope and CCD camera
  • Cytospin machine
  • ELISA reading device
  • Automated colony counter

Grants and Contracts:

Past Funding:

  • 2006-2010: Research Grant, LLS Translational Award. "The Role of WRN/Ligase III/XRCC1 in Genomic Instability in CML", Principal Investigator: Feyruz Rassool.
  • 2007-2009: Research Grant, DOD. "The Role of 'Back-up Repair' in Genomic Instability in CML", Principal Investigator: Feyruz Rassool.
  • 2007-2011: Grant Project, NIH. "Mechanisms of Combined Epigenetic Therapy in Myeloid Malignancies", Principal Investigator: Steve Gore (Johns Hopkins University), Role: Co-Investigator.
  • 2008-2011: Research Grant, TEDCO (Maryland). "Dissecting the Genetic and Epigenetic Origins Underlying Tumorigenic Potential of Human Embryonic and Adult Stem Cells". Principal Investigator: Stephen Baylin, Role: Co-Principal Investigator.
  • 2009-2012: Research Grant, V Foundation (Private Foundation). "DNA Repair Inhibitors in Leukemia", Principal Investigator: Feyruz Rassool.
  • 2011–2014: TEDCO (Maryland) "Efficacy of remodeling the DNA damage response in induced pluripotent stem cells engineered by different methods" Principal Investigator: Feyruz Rassool

Active Funding:

  • 2014-2016: TEDCO Maryland Stem Cell Fund, "Efficiently reprogramed cells with a MYC signature display high fidelity repair of DNA damage" Principal Investigator: Feyruz Rassool.
  • 2014-2017: Adelson Foundation "Bringing epigenetic therapy to the management of Ovarian and other cancers" Principal Investigator: Stephen Baylin, Feyruz Rassool Co-I
  • 2014-2018:VA Merit Review award, Inhibition of Pim kinases in acute myeloid leukemia Principal Investigator: Maria Baer PI, co-I Feyruz Rassool
  • 2014-2017: Van Andel-SU2C, Inc, "Clinical trials for the combined use of DNA demethylating agents and PARP inhibitors in acute myelogenous leukemia" Principal Investigator: Stephen Baylin, Co-I Feyruz Rassool
  • 2014-2015: UMGCC Pilot Grant CRF Funds "Demethylating agents in combination with PARP inhibitors in acute myelogenous leukemia" Principal Investigator: Feyruz Rassool.
  • 2015-2016: ASTEX pharmaceuticals, "SGI-110 in combination with BMN673 in acute myelogenous leukemia" Principal Investigator: Feyruz Rassool.


Recent Publications:

(Of a total of 62 total peer-reviewed publications)

Fan J, Robert C, Jang YY, Liu H, Sharkis S, Baylin SB, Rassool FV. Human induced pluripotent cells resemble embryonic stem cells demonstrating enhanced levels of DNA repair and efficacy of nonhomologous end-joining. Mutat Res. 2011, 713(1-2):8-17. PMID: 21718709.

Tobin LA, Robert C, Nagaria P, Chumsri S, Twaddell W, Ioffe OB, Greco GE, Brodie AH, Tomkinson AE, Rassool FV. Targeting abnormal DNA repair in therapy-resistant breast cancers. Mol Cancer Res 2012, 10(1):96-107. PMID: 22112941.

Muvarak N, Nagaria P, Rassool FV. Genomic instability in chronic myeloid leukemia: targets for therapy? Curr Hematol Malig Rep. 2012, 7(2):94-102. PMID: 22427031.

Tsai HC, Li H, Van Neste L, Cai Y, Robert C, Rassool FV, Shin JJ, Harbom KM, Beaty R, Pappou E, Harris J, Yen RW, Ahuja N, Brock MV, Stearns V, Feller-Kopman D, Yarmus LB, Lin YC, Welm AL, Issa JP, Minn I, Matsui W, Jang YY, Sharkis SJ, Baylin SB, Zahnow CA. Transient low doses of DNA-demethylating agents exert durable antitumor effects on hematological and epithelial tumor cells. Cancer Cell 2012, March 20; 21(3):430-46. PMID: 22439938.

Nagaria P, Robert C, Rassool FV. DNA damage and repair in stem cells. Biochemistry of stem cells. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2012 Sep 17. doi:pii: S0304-4165(12)00256-5. 10.1016/j.bbagen.2012.09.001. [Epub ahead of print].

Robert C and Rassool FV. HDACi and DNA damage. Histone deacetylases as cancer therapeutics. Edited by Steven Grant Adv Cancer Res. 2012;116:87-129. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-394387-3.00003-3

Tobin LA, Robert C, Rapoport AP, Gojo I, Baer MR, Tomkinson AE, Rassool FV. Targeting abnormal DNA double-strand break repair in tyrosine kinase inhibitor-resistant chronic myeloid leukemias. Oncogene 2013, doi: 10.1038/onc.2012.203. PMID: 22641215.

Kimberly Cramer1, Margaret Nieborowska-Skorska1, Kara Scheibner2, Michelle Padget2, David Irvine3, Tomasz Sliwinski1,4, Kimberly Haas5, Jaewoong Lee6, Darshan Roy7, Artur Slupianek1, Feyruz V. Rassool8, Mariusz Wasik7, Wayne Childers5, Mhairi Copland4, Marcus Muschen6, Curt Civin2, and Tomasz Skorski1,*"RAD52-dependent personalized synthetic lethality in tumors identified by genetic and epigenetic profiling Blood. 2013 Aug 15;122(7):1293-304. doi: 10.1182/blood-2013-05-501072. Epub 2013 Jul 8.

Park TS, Bhutto I, Zimmerlin L, Huo JS, Nagaria P, Miller D, Rufaihah AJ, Talbot C, Aguilar J, Grebe R, Merges C, Reijo-Pera R, Feldman RA, Rassool F, Cooke J, Lutty G, Zambidis ET.Vascular Progenitors from Cord Blood-Derived iPSC Possess Augmented Capacity for Regenerating Ischemic Retinal Vasculature.Circulation. 2013 Oct 25. [Epub ahead of print]

Chung YJ, Robert C, Gough SM, Rassool FV, Aplan PD.

Oxidative stress leads to increased mutation frequency in a murine model of myelodysplastic syndrome. Leuk Res. 2014 Jan;38(1):95-102. doi: 10.1016/j.leukres.2013.07.008. Epub 2013 Aug 16.

Khatri R, Shah P, Rassool F V, Brodie A and Jaiswal AK. Increase in Nrf2 leads to reduced apoptosis and resistance to breast cancer drug aromatase inhibitors (in press in Molecular Cancer therapeutics).

Muvarak N, Shannon K, Baer M, Scheibner K, Rassool FV. Role of C-MYC in DSB repair in tyrosine kinase activated leukemias (in press in Molecular Cancer Research).

Gourdin TS, Yi Ning, Rassool FV, Tidwell ML, Duong VH, Emadi A, Baer MR. Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) with FLT3 internal tandem duplication (ITD) and normal karyotype at diagnosis has a high frequency of rare cytogenetic abnormalities at relapse, providing evidence for genomic instability (in press in Cancer Cytogenetics).

Lab Photo:

Dr. Feyruz Rassoll and staff