Marie Ralff

I am a PGY-1 in the MGH McLean Physician Scientist Training Program. I grew up in the Philly suburbs and graduated from the Pennsylvania State University with a degree in biochemistry and molecular biology in 2013. I then moved into the city to attend the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University. There I completed a dual degree MD/PhD program, graduating in 2021.

During graduate school I studied anticancer agent ONC201, a small molecule inducer of the tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) pathway. My dissertation focused specifically on the study of ONC201’s TRAIL-dependent and TRAIL-independent antitumor mechanisms in breast cancer. I also found that ONC201 affected mechanisms of TRAIL resistance in non-triple negative breast cancer cells, priming them to undergo death through the extrinsic pathway. Treatment of these primed cells with TRAIL receptor agonists leads to the potent induction of cell death. My work contributed to providing the pre-clinical rationale for a phase II trial of ONC201 in breast cancer patients which is currently active at the NCI.

As a resident in the PSTP at MGH McLean, I intend to combine my interests in oncology and psychiatry and conduct research in psycho-oncology, with the overall goal of helping to improving psychosocial outcomes for patients with breast cancer.



Education

Temple University, MD, PhD, 2021