On November 9, 2022, the Editorial Office of Journal of Translational Genetics and Genomics (JTGG, Online ISSN: 2578-5281) had the honor to conduct an online interview with Prof. Nathan A. Berger from the Department of Genetics and Genome Sciences, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, USA.
Prof. Berger is the recipient of the “Lifetime Achievement Award” of Case Western Reserve University at the annual Dean's Reunion Soiree on October 7, 2022. He currently serves as an Associate Editor of JTGG and is guiding a Special Issue "Genetics and Epigenetics in Obesity Associated Cancers" in JTGG.
During the interview, he talked about how obesity promotes cancer, particularly how he arrived at the concept that obesity promotes cancer development as opposed to initiating carcinogenesis. In addition, he shared the epigenomic and transcriptomic effects of obesity and their role in promoting cancer development and potential therapeutic implications, and raised some open questions, for instance: Can we control this with epigenetic inhibitors? What happens to these epigenetic changes? Do they disappear or stay and continue to promote the development of cancer? He also suggested that exercise is, in a sense, an antidote to obesity in terms of cancer promotion. Therefore, one of the tasks they are going to carry out is to observe the epigenetic changes induced by exercise to confirm if they may counteract the obvious changes in obesity.
Furthermore, he introduced the high school program he created, Case CCC Youth Enjoy Science (YES). This significant project aims to support, develop and implement exciting education, research immersion, outreach, and curriculum development activities to attract and mentor middle and high school students progressing to undergraduate college education and teachers to enhance the diversity of cancer healthcare and research workforce. The program can increase engagement and opportunity for underrepresented minority students. Finally, he shared some advice for young researchers. He stressed that young researchers should have a passion for research and be devoted to important issues of research interest. In addition, he also encouraged every young researcher engaged in translational research to participate in the research and actively communicate with each other.
Prof. Nathan A. Berger is Director of the Center for Science Health, and Society at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and a Member of the Population and Cancer Prevention Program at the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center. He was the Principal Investigator of two major grants funded by the National Cancer Institute: CASE Center for Transdisciplinary Research on Energetics and Cancer, and Aging-Cancer Research Program Development, and is currently a Multi Principal Investigator of an NCI funded Cancer Disparities Specialized Program on Research Excellence. He is also the co-director of the Aging and Cancer Research Program at the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Prof. Berger is actively involved in a variety of academic activities. He is the author of over 200 papers, reviews and book chapters in the field of DNA damage and repair and developmental therapeutics. He is or has been on the Editorial Boards of numerous renowned journals, including Blood, Journal of Clinical Investigation and Journal of Biological Chemistry. He is Founding and Series Editor for the Energy Balance and Cancer Book Series. He received a number of honorable titles, such as Leukemia Society of America Scholar "Million Dollar Professor" and Distinguished University Professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, and was listed in Who's Who in America, Who's Who in Medicine and Healthcare, Who's Who in the World as well as Best Doctors in America. Commencing in the field of DNA damage and repair, Prof. Berger has gradually shifted his research focus to aging, energy balance and cancer. His laboratory focuses on poly (AdenosineDiPhospho-Ribose) Polymerase (PARP), DNA repair, stress proteins, developmental therapeutics and murine models to interrogate the impact of energy balance on cancer.
The Editorial Office of JTGG will continue to release more special interview series and build a multi-channel communication platform for more scholars in genetics.
Respectfully Submitted by the Editorial Office
Journal of Translational Genetics and Genomics