PhD Proposal Presentation by Johnathan Lyon

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Johnathan Lyon

PhD  Proposal Presentation

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

1:30-2:30 pm

IBB 1128 (Suddath Room)


Advisor: Dr. Ravi Bellamkonda (BME, Georgia Institute of Technology/Emory University)


Thesis committee members:

            Dr. Robert Butera (BME/ECE, Georgia Institute of Technology/Emory University)

            Dr. Susan Thomas (ME, Georgia Institute of Technology)

            Dr. Mark Prausnitz (CHBE, Georgia Institute of Technology)

Dr. Tobey MacDonald (Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Emory University School of Medicine)


Title: Managing Brain Cancers with Electric Fields


Existing therapies for cancer treatment, namely, surgical resection, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy, cannot be used in many brain malignancies. This is particularly true in tumors that develop in inoperable brain regions, or for pediatric brain tumors where therapeutic intervention would be devastating to a child’s neural development. To address the lack of available therapies, I will examine the use of electric fields (EFs) as an alternative way to manage brain cancers for these hard-to-treat cases.


My goal is to determine a set of stimulation parameters, whereby brain cancer behavior and phenotype are altered in a therapeutically relevant manner. I will examine two ranges of EFs as potential therapeutic regimes: non-oscillating, low-power fields, and low-power, sub-megahertz oscillating fields. Both of these regimes are relatively unexplored for therapeutic purposes and have field strengths that are likely to be physiologically safe, in that they are lower than some endogenously generated EFs. I will conduct an ensemble of in vitro experiments that screen these EF regimes and assess their effects on brain cancer cell migration, proliferation, viability, and progression. Additionally, I will assess the ability of these EFs to indirectly treat brain cancers, by looking at whether they can alter the tumor-supportive phenotype of anti-inflammatory, tumor-associated macrophages and microglia.


With these studies I will obtain a broader understanding of the interaction of EFs with cancer cells, as well as a potential basis for developing new therapeutic tools for inoperable brain tumors.


  • Workflow Status:Published
  • Created By:Tatianna Richardson
  • Created:03/31/2015
  • Modified By:Fletcher Moore
  • Modified:10/07/2016


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