Welcome to the Katona Lab

Our lab and research program is an exciting, highly collaborative, and interdisciplinary program focused on gastrointestinal cancer and hereditary gastrointestinal cancer predisposition syndromes.  Ongoing research activities in this area span the spectrum of basic science, translation studies, and clinical studies, and involve active collaborations across the Perelman School of Medicine, Abramson Cancer Center, and the University of Pennsylvania.  Active research projects in our group, as detailed on the Research page, include understanding the biology of colorectal tumorigenesis through the use of mouse models and human-derived organoids, studying the role of the immune system in Lynch syndrome pathogenesis, implementation of early detection of pancreatic cancer in individuals at high-risk, investigating the role of the microbiome in colonic polyposis, and characterizing genetic susceptibility for gastric cancer.


The Katona Lab is looking for motivated post-docs.  See the Positions page for more details.


Recent News

January 2023

Welcome to Sam Levy, a Master's in Genetic Counseling graduate student, who joined our group and will be examining patient decision-making about CDH1 testing on multigene panel testing.

December 2022

In an effort led by Kole Buckley, we published the first comprehensive review of BRCA1- and BRCA2-associated gastric cancer in Cancers.

BRCA gastric cancer paper header

Bryson Katona was featured on a ReachMD podcast discussing ways to improve identification of Lynch syndrome.

November 2022

Bryson Katona presented results from our study of the yield of multigene panel testing in patients with colorectal cancer at the CGA-IGC Annual Meeting in Nashville.  Excitingly these results were simultaneously published in JCO Precision Oncology, and picked up the ASCO Daily News.  To date, this is the largest study examining outcomes of multigene panel testing in colorectal cancer patients, and it showed that there was a high rate of clinically actionable variants detected across all age groups, all panel sizes, and all racial/ethnic groups.  This data supports broadening germline genetic testing criteria for colorectal cancer patients.  

Bryson speaking at the podium

JCO PO article header

Also at the CGA-IGC Annual Meeting in Nashville, Sam Williams presented her thesis work looking at outcomes of in-person versus telehealth GI cancer genetic appointments as a Poster of Distinction.  Her poster was also selected as one of the posters featured on the Poster Walk!

Sam and Bryson at a poster

October 2022

Welcome to Marina Weber who joined the group as a Clinical Research Coordinator. 

July 2022

Welcome to Kole Buckley who joined the group as a Post-Doc.  Kole's research will be focused on understanding gastric carcinogenesis in hereditary gastric cancer predisposition syndromes and using immune-interception as a mechanism for gastric cancer risk reduction.

June 2022

Welcome to Michaela Dungan who joined the group as a Clinical Research Coordinator.  Congratulations to Thomas Nyul who transitioned to a Research Specialist A in our group.

The initial results from the multicenter CAPS5 study (Penn site PI - Katona) were published in the June issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.  Excitingly the study showed that the majority of pancreatic cancers detected on surveillance in high-risk individuals were stage I and had long-term survival, providing much needed evidence to support the efficacy of pancreatic surveillance in high-risk populations.

CAPS5 paper header

April 2022

An exciting paper that our group contributed to was published in Nature, showing how beta-hydroxybutyrate suppressed colorectal cancer (Nature paper).  To continue the exciting momentum in this area we opened a new clinical trial simultaneously with publication of the manuscript, that is the first study in humans to examine the the role of beta-hydroxybutyrate supplementation in colorectal cancer prevention (Clinical trial information).

February 2022

Published in the February issue of Cancers is the first comprehensive review of upper gastrointestinal cancer surveillance in Lynch syndrome.  Including data from our experience at Penn, current data is supportive of upper gastrointestinal cancer surveillance as an effective method to identify precancerous lesions and early-stage cancers in Lynch syndrome.

January 2022

Welcome to Isabel Anez Bruzual, a Master's in Genetic Counseling graduate student, who joined our group and will be examining the perceived utility and psychological impact of pancreatic cancer screening in high-risk populations.


See the News section for other exciting announcements.