Pencik received now the graduate award of the International Cytokine and Interferon Society (ICIS), which met in Bamberg in October 2015
to bestow the award. He was working with Prof. Lukas Kenner, when he became interested in the crosstalk of JAK/STAT signaling with the ARF-MDM2-p-53 tumor suppressor pathway. His recent work has characterized a novel role for IL-6/STAT3 signaling and ARF in regulating senescence, cancer and metastic progression. Analyses of patient samples indicated that STAT3 and ARF are useful as prognostic markers for high risk prostate cancers. This study was recently published by Nature Communications (doi: 10.1038/ncomms8736
) and was selected as an important research highlight by Nature Urology (doi:10.1038/nrurol.2015.205
). The research was in part financially supported by the stand alone project P 26011 of the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) "Genetic Analysis of the IL-6 Signalling pathway in prostate oncogenesis".
Jan Pencik is originally from Brno, Czech republic and obtained his Master Degree in Biochemistry from the Faculty of Science, Palacky University, Olomouc, Czech Republic, working on the molecular mechanisms controlling cell cycle in mouse and human embryonic stem cells. Right after graduation, he joined the lab of Prof. Stephan Nussberger (Stuttgart, Germany) to study mitochondrial proteins and their cellular signaling networks. He was then accepted as a doctoral student in molecular Signal Transduction at the Medical University of Vienna, Austria under the mentorship of Prof. Lukas Kenner at Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Cancer Research. He is currently finalizing his PhD thesis, which will be presented in autumn 2015.