Marrero, Marchi win abstract awards at the American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting

University of Florida College of Pharmacy graduate students Richard Marrero, Pharm.D., and Francisco Marchi were honored with abstract awards at the American Society of Hematology, or ASH, Annual Meeting in New Orleans on Dec. 10. The pair are researchers in the lab led by Jatinder Lamba, Ph.D., a professor and the Frank A. Duckworth Eminent Scholar Chair in the UF College of Pharmacy.

Marrero and Marchi
Richard Marrero, Pharm.D., and Francisco Marchi

Marrero, a fourth-year graduate student, was honored with an ASH Minority Graduate Student Abstract Achievement Award for his study titled, “Genome-wide Association Study Identifies Variants Associated with Clinical Outcomes in Pediatric Patients with Newly Diagnosed Acute Myeloid Leukemia.” The research was one of the largest genome-wide association studies conducted in children diagnosed with de novo acute myeloid leukemia, or AML, treated under two multi-institutional clinical trials led by St Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Researchers evaluated single nucleotide polymorphisms, or SNPs, for association with multiple clinical outcome end points and identified SNPs in several genes of biological relevance that significantly impact treatment outcomes. The results hold promise in advancing the understanding of how genetic variants contribute to inter-patient variation in treatment response and identification of potential genes with a role in AML biology. They also hold potential for the discovery of novel therapeutic drug targets.

Marchi, a second-year graduate student, received an ASH Abstract Achievement Award for his study titled, “A CIBERSORTx Signature Predicts Outcome in Pediatric AML Patients.” His abstract describes CiberScore, a machine-learning model that predicts prognosis in pediatric AML patients. Marchi, along with co-author and UF undergraduate student Fernando Sckaff, developed the model using transcriptomic data from bone marrow and diagnostic biopsies of 163 patients from a multi-site St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital clinical trial. They validated the findings in nearly 1,700 patients from trials led by the Children’s Oncology Group.

For Marchi, this is his first ASH abstract award. Marrero previously won an Abstract Achievement Award in 2021.