Robert Kralovics earned his master’s degree in Molecular Biology and Genetics at Comenius University in Bratislava and his Ph.D. in Biophysics at the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic in Brno. He completed his post-doctoral work on the genetics of myeloproliferative disorders working with Josef Prchal at the University of Alabama in Birmingham, USA. In 2000, Robert joined Prchal’s group as Assistant Professor at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. From 2001, he was a project leader with Radek Skoda in Basel, Switzerland. In 2006, Robert joined CeMM Research Center for Molecular Medicine in Vienna, Austria as an independent principal investigator. Robert’s research interests lie primarily in myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs) and in myeloid malignancies in general. His major achievements so far include the identification of mutations in the JAK2 kinase gene (V617F) and the identification of CALR gene mutations, which play an important role in MPN pathogenesis. Robert continues his research at CeMM seeking to find new mutations causing familial predisposition to hematological malignancies using advanced genomics approaches and understanding how genetic variability contributes to the disease. More recently, Robert’s research focuses on the development of immunotherapy for CALR-positive patients and the identification of novel therapeutic strategies in MPNs.
Stefan N. Constantinescu is a Member of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, Brussels Branch, and a Professor of Cell and Molecular biology at the Université catholique de Louvain, de Duve Institute, where he coordinates the Pole of Cell Signaling. He has been trained as an MD, PhD in Virology (University of Medicine and Pharmacy Carol Davila, Bucharest) and during his PhD he described the first outbreak of AIDS in children. He has been a postdoctoral fellow with Prof. Harvey Lodish at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research at MIT, Cambridge, MA between 1995-2000 working on signaling by Epo receptor. His independent laboratory started in 2000 and his research revolves around structure and function of cytokine receptors, like EpoR, TpoR (MPL), G-CSFR and interferon receptors and their mechanisms of activation of Janus kinases. His work identified the structural and dimerization requirements of dimeric cytokine receptors for signaling, and characterized how JAK proteins regulate receptor traffic and stability. He contributed to the discovery of JAK2 V617F, has identified the first active mutants of JAK1 (JAK1 V658F now detected in T-ALL), TYK2 (V678F) and described in 2006 the role of the thrombopoietin receptor juxtamembrane domain W515 in preventing receptor elf-activation, describing the mutant MPL W515A. In 2016 in collaboration with Robert Kralovics and William Vainchenker, his group elucidated the mechanism by which CALR mutants induce MPNs, namely specific activation of thrombopoietin receptor in the secretory pathway. The group also described a novel signaling mechanism for persistently activated STAT5 in MPNs, and a novel STAT5-p53 interplay, which seems to be critical for progression. He presented Educational sessions on Signaling and JAK2 inhibitors in MPNs at the congresses of the European Hematology Association EHA 16, 2010 (London), EHA 20, 2015 (Vienna), and American Society of Hematology ASH 2012, Atlanta. He has received several awards and is a Member of the Royal Academy of Medicine of Belgium.