My current and future research interests are focused on the microenvironment influence on Ewing sarcoma tumorigenesis and metastasis. Previous work of mine leveraged a patient derived xenograft orthotopic implantation/amputation model to explore the role of the microenvironment on metastasis. Succinctly, Ewing sarcoma xenografts or cell lines (osteosarcoma as well) implanted pre-tibialy in vivo readily metastasize despite murine hindlimb amputation acting as local control. Conversely, subcutaneous tumors, excised at similar tumor endpoints, virtually never metastasize. Comparing the gene expression pattern between the subcutaneous and orthotopically implanted tumors has yielded interesting variability in integrin expression, specifically, integrin alpha6. My current work focuses on further detailing the significance and biological implication of that variable expression. More specifically, characterizing the associated signaling pathways in Ewing sarcoma as a potential therapeutic target. Within breast cancer, the alph6/beta1 integrin heterodimer is known to play a role in cancer stem cell regulation and defines a small population capable of recapitulating a heterogeneous tumor from very few cells. This critical pathway is known to act through BMI-1 and my current work has demonstrated that this may be a viable, targetable pathway for Ewing sarcoma. My preliminary in vitro work with two novel, small molecule inhibitors has demonstrated a profound inhibition of Ewing sarcoma cell line growth. My immediate future work will be focused on further exploring BMI-1 inhibition as a potential therapeutic approach including using the small molecules in conjunction with radiation therapy as well as standard, cytotoxic chemotherapy. Given the dire prognosis of relapsed and metastatic Ewing sarcoma, disrupting the pathways that contribute to metastatic disease is of critical importance.
Fellowship - Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 2016
Residency - Northwestern University, School of Medicine, Chicago, IL 2012
M.D. - Wayne State University, School of Medicine, Detroit, MI 2009
M.P.H. - University of Michigan, School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI 2005