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Semir Beyaz

Semir Beyaz

CSHL Fellow
Donaldson Translational Fellow

Ph.D., Harvard University, 2017 | (516) 367-4128

Are you really what you eat? Our goal is to uncover the precise mechanisms that link nutrition to organismal health and disease states at the cellular and molecular level. A particular focus in our lab is to understand how dietary perturbations affect the immune system and contribute to the risk of diseases that are associated with immune dysfunction such as cancer.

Cells respond and adapt to the signals that they receive from their environment. Environmental factors such as nutrients affect cellular states by altering cell state-specific gene expression or metabolic programs. My research group investigates the causal cellular and molecular mechanisms that link nutrition to organismal health and disease. For example, diets that lead to obesity, such as high fat diets are significant environmental risk factors that influence cancer incidence and progression in several tissues. Although the interactions between tumor cells and the immune system play a significant role in tumorigenesis, little is known about how dietary perturbations impact immunity against cancer. Our studies interrogate the functional consequences of diets on immune recognition and response pathways that play critical role in cancer immunity. By identifying the altered gene expression and metabolic programs in the immune system in response to dietary perturbations, our goal is to uncover mechanistic links that can be therapeutically exploited for the treatment of diseases associated with immune dysfunction such as cancer.

The Janeway Award, New England Immunology Conference
Trainee Award, American Association of Immunologists
Outstanding Poster Award, International Society for Stem Cell Research
Zhongmei Chen Yong Travel Award for Scientific Excellence, International Society for Stem Cell Research
Merit Award, International Society for Stem Cell Research
Thermo-Fisher Trainee Achievement Award, American Association of Immunologists

Study: High-Fat Diets May Raise Cancer Risk
High-fat diets increase risk of tumors forming in the gut, say scientists
How A High-Fat Diet Can Increase Cancer Risk

Haber, A. L. and Biton, M. and Rogel, N. and Herbst, R. H. and Shekhar, K. and Smillie, C. and Burgin, G. and Delorey, T. M. and Howitt, M. R. and Katz, Y. and Tirosh, I. and Beyaz, S. and Dionne, D. and Zhang, M. and Raychowdhury, R. and Garrett, W. S. and Rozenblatt-Rosen, O. and Shi, H. N. and Yilmaz, O. and Xavier, R. J. and Regev, A. (2017) A single-cell survey of the small intestinal epithelium. Nature, 551(7680) pp. 333-339.

Roper, J. and Tammela, T. and Cetinbas, N. M. and Akkad, A. and Roghanian, A. and Rickelt, S. and Almeqdadi, M. and Wu, K. and Oberli, M. A. and Sanchez-Rivera, F. and Park, Y. K. and Liang, X. and Eng, G. and Taylor, M. S. and Azimi, R. and Kedrin, D. and Neupane, R. and Beyaz, S. and Sicinska, E. T. and Suarez, Y. and Yoo, J. and Chen, L. and Zukerberg, L. and Katajisto, P. and Deshpande, V. and Bass, A. J. and Tsichlis, P. N. and Lees, J. and Langer, R. and Hynes, R. O. and Chen, J. and Bhutkar, A. and Jacks, T. and Yilmaz, O. H. (2017) In vivo genome editing and organoid transplantation models of colorectal cancer and metastasis. Nat Biotechnol, 35(6) pp. 569-576.

Beyaz, S. and Kim, J. H. and Pinello, L. and Xifaras, M. E. and Hu, Y. and Huang, J. and Kerenyi, M. A. and Das, P. P. and Barnitz, R. A. and Herault, A. and Dogum, R. and Haining, W. N. and Yilmaz, O. H. and Passegue, E. and Yuan, G. C. and Orkin, S. H. and Winau, F. (2017) The histone demethylase UTX regulates the lineage-specific epigenetic program of invariant natural killer T cells. Nat Immunol, 18(2) pp. 184-195.

Beyaz, S. and Yilmaz, O. H. (2016) Molecular Pathways: Dietary Regulation of Stemness and Tumor Initiation by the PPAR-delta Pathway. Clin Cancer Res, 22(23) pp. 5636-5641.

Beyaz, S. and Mana, M. D. and Roper, J. and Kedrin, D. and Saadatpour, A. and Hong, S. J. and Bauer-Rowe, K. E. and Xifaras, M. E. and Akkad, A. and Arias, E. and Pinello, L. and Katz, Y. and Shinagare, S. and Abu-Remaileh, M. and Mihaylova, M. M. and Lamming, D. W. and Dogum, R. and Guo, G. and Bell, G. W. and Selig, M. and Nielsen, G. P. and Gupta, N. and Ferrone, C. R. and Deshpande, V. and Yuan, G. C. and Orkin, S. H. and Sabatini, D. M. and Yilmaz, O. H. (2016) High-fat diet enhances stemness and tumorigenicity of intestinal progenitors. Nature, 531(7592) pp. 53-8.

Das, P. P. and Hendrix, D. A. and Apostolou, E. and Buchner, A. H. and Canver, M. C. and Beyaz, S. and Ljuboja, D. and Kuintzle, R. and Kim, W. and Karnik, R. and Shao, Z. and Xie, H. and Xu, J. and De Los Angeles, A. and Zhang, Y. and Choe, J. and Jun, D. L. and Shen, X. and Gregory, R. I. and Daley, G. Q. and Meissner, A. and Kellis, M. and Hochedlinger, K. and Kim, J. and Orkin, S. H. (2015) PRC2 Is Required to Maintain Expression of the Maternal Gtl2-Rian-Mirg Locus by Preventing De Novo DNA Methylation in Mouse Embryonic Stem Cells. Cell Rep, 12(9) pp. 1456-70.

Das, P. P. and Shao, Z. and Beyaz, S. and Apostolou, E. and Pinello, L. and Angeles, A. L. and O'Brien, K. and Atsma, J. M. and Fujiwara, Y. and Nguyen, M. and Ljuboja, D. and Guo, G. and Woo, A. and Yuan, G. C. and Onder, T. and Daley, G. and Hochedlinger, K. and Kim, J. and Orkin, S. H. (2014) Distinct and combinatorial functions of Jmjd2b/Kdm4b and Jmjd2c/Kdm4c in mouse embryonic stem cell identity. Mol Cell, 53(1) pp. 32-48.

Haspot, F. and Li, H. W. and Lucas, C. L. and Fehr, T. and Beyaz, S. and Sykes, M. (2014) Allospecific rejection of MHC class I-deficient bone marrow by CD8 T cells. Am J Transplant, 14(1) pp. 49-58.

Guo, G. and Luc, S. and Marco, E. and Lin, T. W. and Peng, C. and Kerenyi, M. A. and Beyaz, S. and Kim, W. and Xu, J. and Das, P. P. and Neff, T. and Zou, K. and Yuan, G. C. and Orkin, S. H. (2013) Mapping cellular hierarchy by single-cell analysis of the cell surface repertoire. Cell Stem Cell, 13(4) pp. 492-505.

Lucas, C. L. and Workman, C. J. and Beyaz, S. and LoCascio, S. and Zhao, G. and Vignali, D. A. and Sykes, M. (2011) LAG-3, TGF-beta, and cell-intrinsic PD-1 inhibitory pathways contribute to CD8 but not CD4 T-cell tolerance induced by allogeneic BMT with anti-CD40L. Blood, 117(20) pp. 5532-40.

Additional materials of the author at
CSHL Institutional Repository