Dr. Robert Coleman Lindsley, M.D., PhD. is a physician scientist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, specializing in research topics associated with MDS. His career has developed in conjunction with his interest in how disease evolves, and in turn, how new and existing therapies can interrupt the process of disease progression. The clinical research focus he has chosen in addressing problems with MDS has led to work in two important areas; examining how the fundamental properties of MDS change over time, and the features of MDS that cause resistance to therapy. Dr. Lindsley’s efforts include longitudinal studies of individual MDS patients over time to track how their disease progresses, as well as large studies aimed at identifying shared genetic characteristics that may indicate patients’ responsiveness or resistance to therapies offered.
One example of how his work will become useful to patients is in the pursuit of genetic features of MDS that may pinpoint which patients may benefit most from stem cell transplantation and at what point in their disease progression that this therapy would be most beneficial to them. Dr. Lindsley shared that his time as an Edward P. Evans Fellow through the AA&MDSIF Clinical Research Consortium was essential in allowing him to pursue new areas of study during the earliest stages of his career in MDS research. Now, as his research develops, additional funding agencies have taken note of his important work, he is currently involved in collaborations with other MDS researchers, and is the principle investigator at Dana-Farber in a multi-site trial phase I trial. He emphasized one of the greatest benefits of his fellowship was the ability to connect and interact with experienced researchers in his field and receive feedback and guidance about the direction of his work.