Principal investigator: Katerina (Katya) Gurova, MD, PhD

Dr. Gurova came to Roswell Park in 2008. She earned her PhD at Blokhin Russian Cancer Research Center in 1997; her thesis work was aimed at understanding the interaction of tumor cells with normal fibroblasts. During postdoctoral training, she investigated why p53 mutates in only half of human tumors, and aimed to identify novel types of p53 activators for cancer treatment. 

Prior to joining Roswell Park, she worked as Director of Anti-Cancer Research with Cleveland BioLabs (CBL), a company founded after the discovery of prototype curaxin compounds.  When curaxins entered formal development stage, she continued looking for the mechanism of action of curaxins, as well as other novel small molecules with anti-cancer properties, which were discovered in CBL or in the lab. 

Curaxins led her and the lab into the field of chromatin biology and histone chaperones. 

Alfiya Safina

Senior Scientist: Alfiya Safina

Alfiya joined the lab in 2010 and since then has been instrumental in most of the projects in the lab. There are no problems that Alfiya cannot solve, and if she cannot – this means this problem has no solution. 

Alfiya likes to cook and does this excellently. This is one of the reasons why all her experiments work. 

Lab alumni

  • Imon Goswami graduated in 2021. She was studying why normal stem cells need FACT for viability. She has found that FACT maintains nucleosomes during transcription in these cells. 
  • Laura Prendergast joined our lab as a PhD student in 2015 after completing her BS in Biology at the State University of New York College at Geneseo. Laura's thesis work focused on understanding why breast tumor cells, but not normal mammary cells, are so dependent on FACT. She had found that FACT plays an important role during replication stress since without FACT MCM helicase complex dissociates from chromatin when replication fork is stalk. Laura graduated in 2019 and joined Danny Reinberg lab in NYU, where FACT complex was discovered. 
  • Poorva Sandlesh earned her PhD in our lab in November 2017. She generated conditional knockout mouse model of FACT and decided to stay in the lab for a while to characterize consequences of FACT knockout in more detail.  
  • Peter Cheney graduated in 2016. He was trying to understand why FACT binds chromatin in curaxin-treated cells found that FACT is a "sensor" of DNA torsional stress.  
  • Henry (Hank) Garcia graduated in 2014. Hank was the first to notice that tumor cells love FACT and cannot live without it. 
  • Elimelech (Eli) Nesher earned his PhD from Ariel University in Israel in neuroscience! After that he joined our lab to get training in chromatin biology and cancer. He noticed and described "chromatin damage" caused by DNA binding small molecules in cells. He’s back in Israel now, but we continue working together. 
  • Daria (Dasha) Fleyshman was a postdoctoral fellow in the lab. She ran several projects to develop novel types of drugs for the treatment of hormone insensitive prostate and breast cancers. 

Contact the Gurova Lab

Phone: 716-845-4760 
Office location: Center for Genetics & Pharmacology (CGP) L3-301A 
Lab Location: Center for Genetics & Pharmacology (CGP) L3-121 & 122 

Department of Cell Stress Biology 
Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center 
Elm and Carlton Streets 
Buffalo, NY 14263