Simone Benitz, PhD

Simone Benitz, PhD

Crawford Lab | Henry Ford Health

Post doc | Department of Surgery

Project Title:      ROR2, a Novel Driver of Pancreatic Cancer Progression with Therapeutic Potential

Project Description: Dr. Benitz’s team discovered that Receptor Tyrosine Kinase Like Orphan Receptor 2 (ROR2) is expressed early in transformation. Additional experiments revealed that ROR2 can be detected in a larger group of pancreatic cancer cells. CRISPR/Cas9-mediated ROR2 knockout cells will be generated to assess if loss of ROR2 can induce cellular reprogramming towards a decreasing and less malignant phenotype. In addition, the therapeutic benefit of drug-targeting the identified ROR2 downstream molecules, KDM1A, HDAC2 and AKT, will be assessed; with the goal of identifying novel therapeutic strategies to combat this disease.


Dr. Benitz’s Bio

Dr. Simone Benitz has been a postdoctoral researcher in the lab of Dr. Howard Crawford, initially at the
University of Michigan, and now at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. She received her PhD at the
Technical University in Munich, Germany, studying epigenetic alterations in pancreatic cancer. Her
primary research interests are the investigation of transcriptional and epigenetic changes that drive
cellular reprogramming in pancreatic cancer initiation as well as late-stage tumor progression. Dr. Benitz
aims to become an independent researcher with the goal of detecting novel molecular markers that can
be used for early diagnosis and exploited for therapeutic intervention, improving the quality of life of