The goal of our laboratory is to develop, apply, and integrate methods in molecular pathology, bio-informatics, and epidemiology for translational cancer genomics research. A major focus of the lab is the study of breast cancer, and we work closely in collaboration with investigators from The Nurses Health Study. In recent years, molecular studies have provided important new insights into our understanding of breast cancer, by demonstrating that breast cancer represents a heterogeneous disease, with distinct disease subtypes driven by distinct sets of molecular abnormalities. Studies are beginning to demonstrate that knowledge of the specific molecular abnormalities driving a patients breast cancer can provide key information for selecting the most appropriate therapy, thereby facilitating a new era of personalized medicine for breast cancer patients. We are interested in all stages of breast carcinogenesis: the lab will use samples from women with benign breast disease to identify molecular and morphologic features associated with increased breast cancer risk; the lab will study samples from women with non-invasive breast cancer (DCIS/LCIS) to identify markers to predict disease recurrence and progression; and the lab will study samples from women with invasive breast cancer to identify clinically significant molecular alterations that impact treatment decisions and are associated with patient survival.
It is hoped that the increased knowledge of cancer molecular pathology generated by the lab will drive both the development of improved cancer prevention strategies for women at increased risk of cancer, and the development of new personalized cancer treatment strategies, tailored specifically to a patients genetic make-up and to genetic changes observed in a patients tumor, leading to enhanced cancer diagnostics and therapeutics, and to improved cure rates for cancer patients.