Halasz Group

Childhood Cancers

Group Members

Melinda Halasz
Assistant Professor
Soraya Epp
Ph.D. Student, Kolch/Halasz Group
Ciara Gallagher
Postdoctoral Researcher, Halasz Group
Stephanie Maher
Ph.D. Student, Halasz Group
Eoghan O'Connor
Ph.D. Student, Halasz Group
Tong Zhao
Ph.D. Student, Halasz Group

About the Group

What We Do

Malignancies arising in children are rare; and differ from cancers developing in adults. However, treatment regimens for children often consist of drugs used to treat adult cancers; and current therapies are associated with long-term side effects in children. Therefore, my group aims to identify less toxic and better personalised therapies for children with cancer. In particular, we focus on highly aggressive childhood cancers which are driven by the ‘undruggable’ MYCN or MYC transcription factors, such as neuroblastoma (NB) and Burkitt’s lymphoma (BL), respectively. NB originates from the sympathetic nervous system; while BL is a non-Hodgkin lymphoma which is endemic in Equatorial Africa. Our aim is to better understand the mechanistic role of MYC and MYCN in childhood cancers to identify novel therapies for children with MYC or MYCN-driven malignancies by using -omics and systems biology approaches. 

Join our team
To find out more about our research, to collaborate on a project or if you are interested in postdoc, PhD or internship opportunities, contact melinda.halasz@ucd.ie.

Selected publications

For a complete list seeGoogle Scholar

Protein interaction switches coordinate Raf-1 and MST2/Hippo signalling
Romano D, Nguyen LK, Matallanas D, Halasz M, Doherty C, Kholodenko BN, Kolch W. Nature Cell Biology. 2014; 16(7):673-684.

The dynamic control of signal transduction networks in cancer cells
Kolch W, Halasz M, Granovskaya M, Kholodenko B. Nature Reviews Cancer. 2015; 15(9):515-527.

Signaling pathway models as biomarkers: Patient-specific simulations of JNK activity predict the survival of neuroblastoma patients
Fey D, Halasz M, Dreidax D, Kennedy SP, Hastings JF, Rauch N, Munoz AG, Pilkington R, Fischer M, Westermann F, Kolch W, Kholodenko BN, Croucher DR. Science Signaling. 2015; 8(408):ra130.

Integrative omics reveals MYCN as a global suppressor of cellular signalling and enables network-based therapeutic target discovery in neuroblastoma
Duffy DJ*, Krstic A*, Halasz M*, Schwarzl T*, Fey D, Iljin K, Mehta JP; Killick K; Whilde J; Turriziani B, Haapa-Paananen S, Fey V, Fischer M, Westermann F, Henrich KO, Bannert S, Higgins DG, Kolch W. Oncotarget. 2015; 6(41):43182-43201.  

Integrating network reconstruction with mechanistic modelling to predict cancer therapies
Halasz M, Kholodenko BN, Kolch W, Santra T. Science Signaling. 2016; 9(455):ra114.

Wnt signalling is a bi-directional vulnerability of cancer cells
Duffy DJ, Krstic A, Schwarzl T, Halasz M, Iijin K, Fey D, Haley B, Whilde J, Haapa-Paananen S, Fey V, Fischer M, Westermann F, Henrich KO, Bannert S, Higgins DG, Kolch W. Oncotarget. 2016; 7(37):60310-60331. 

Retinoic acid and TGFβ signalling cooperate to overcome MYCN-induced retinoid resistance
Duffy DJ, Krstic A, Halasz M, Schwarzl T, Konietzny A, Iljin K, Higgins DG, Kolch W. Genome Medicine. 2017; 9(1):15.

Lapatinib potentiates cytotoxicity of YM155 in neuroblastoma via inhibition of the ABCB1 efflux transporter
Radic-Sarikas B*, Halasz M*, Huber KVM, Winter GE, Tsafou KP, Papamarkou T, Brunak S, Kolch W, Superti-Furga G. Scientific Reports. 2017; 7(1):3091.

PO-461 Mitochondria-mediated anticancer effect of diphenyleneiodonium chloride (DPI) in aggressive neuroblastoma is regulated by MYCN
S Marcone, K Iljin, E Dempsey, D Fey, D Duffy, F Westermann, W Kolch, M Halasz. ESMO Open. 2018; 3: A203

PO-136 Studying pathway interactions and dynamics to predict cell responses to chemotherapeutic treatment in breast cancer cells
L Tuffery, BN Kholodenko, W Kolch, M Halasz, D Fey. ESMO Open. 2018; 3: A279-A280

Protein and chemotherapy profiling of extracellular vesicles harvested from therapeutic-induced senescent triple-negative breast cancer cells
Emma L Kavanagh, Sinéad Lindsay, Melinda Halasz, Luke C Gubbins, Karolina Weiner-Gorzel, Matthew Ho Zhi Guang, Aloysius McGoldrick, Eoin Collins, Michael Henry, Peter O'Gorman, Patricia Fitzpatrick, Michaela J Higgins, Paul Dowling, Amanda McCann. Cancer Research. 2018; 78 (13): 457

Identification of a MYCN and Wnt-related VANGL2-ITLN1 fusion gene in neuroblastoma
David J Duffy, Anja Konietzny, Aleksandar Krstic, Jai Prakash Mehta, Melinda Halasz, Walter Kolch. Gene Reports. 2018; 12: 187-200