Carol J. Thiele, Ph.D. Senior Investigator
Dr. Carol J. Thiele is a Senior Investigator at the Center for Cancer Research at the National Cancer Institute and Head of the Cell & Molecular Biology Section in the Pediatric Oncology Branch. She received her Ph.D at the UCLA School of Medicine’s Microbiology & Immunuology Department where her studies focused on the ontogeny of B-cell responses- identifying cellular immune mechanisms mediating isotype specific antibody responses in humans and patients with immunodeficiencies.
As a post-doctoral fellow of the Cancer Research Institute of America and later a Damon-Runyon-Walter Winchell Cancer Research Fellow, she studied immunoglobulin gene rearrangements and expression in patients with CLL and myeloma in the Genetics Branch with Dr. J.F.Mushinski at the NCI. In 1983, Dr. Thiele became a Senior Staff Fellow in the Molecular Genetics Section headed by Mark Israel at the NCI’s Pediatric Branch. During this time her research focused on using molecular genetics to distinguish histopathologically indistinguishable “small round blue cells tumors of childhood” which contributed to the concept of the Ewings Sarcoma Family of Tumors.
As a tenured Senior Investigator at the NCI for the last 20 years her research has been translational in nature and focused on understanding the signal transduction pathways that mediate growth and differentiation in neuroblastoma in order to understand mechanisms of neuroblastoma tumorigenesis and to exploit these findings to develop more effective therapy. A major area of research is aimed at understanding the molecular mechanisms mediating retinoid-induced differentiation of neuroblastoma tumors cells. These pre-clinical studies among others served as an important rationale for the clinical studies that led to the inclusion of retinoid in the therapy of high-risk Neuroblastoma patients. Dr. Thiele has been on the Steering Committee of Advances in Neuroblastoma Research lobbying for programs that raised the clinical acumen of basic research scientists as well as exposed the clinicians to the latest developments in basic research. Dr. Thiele was a founding editor of the journal Cell Death and Differentiation and has served on the Editorial Boards of Cancer Research and Molecular Cancer Therapeutics. Dr. Thiele was the first Women Scientist Advisor at the DCT/NCI and in 2008 she was Chair of the AACR Women in Cancer Research. Dr. Thiele has a long-standing interest in the education and mentoring of young scientists and physician scientists and led committees at NIH and NCI to develop guidelines for mentoring and trainees.