The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Department of Breast Medical Oncology
My primary research interests lie in improving therapeutic options by providing target driven therapy that is less toxic than conventional therapies and to help reduce mortality for patients with very aggressive forms of breast cancer. The research in my lab is focused on defining the biological and molecular effects of signaling pathways in breast cancer, with emphasis on TNBC (Both Non-inflammatory and Inflammatory breast cancer) metastasis. In particular, a strong interest of my lab is to study the role of the MAPK-pathway and the inhibitors of this pathway, with emphasis in determining the factors involved in the mechanism of resistance of MAPK-directed therapy.
1. Elucidating the role of the MAPK pathway (ERK1, ERK2, PEA-15) in triple-negative breast cancer metastasis and the role of small molecules for therapeutic targeting of the MAPK pathway.
2. Determinants of Resistance to MEK inhibitor Targeted Therapy. Using a siRNA genome-wide screen we have identified novel genes whose silencing sensitized cells to the MEK inhibitor. Using small-molecule inhibitors of the protein products of the identified genes, we will elucidate the mechanism of resistance and develop combinatorial therapy approaches that are less toxic for breast cancer.
3. Evaluate the prognostic and predictive significance of the MAPK pathway in TNBC breast cancer patients As a translational investigator with clinical and research experience, I am in a position to translate preclinical findings from the lab into the clinic in collaboration with the clinical investigators in the department. A tutorial in my laboratory would provide experience to include molecular biology, tissue culture, cell biology (growth assays, flow cytometry, migration, invasion, 3D-assay, mammosphere assay) and breast cancer xenograft models.
Education & Training
M.D. - University of Zambia - 1986
Ph.D. - MD Anderson UTHealth Graduate School - 2004
Therapeutic options for aggressive forms of breast cancer (TNBC, IBC); kinase pathway inhibitors; MAPK pathway; MEK inhibitor resistance; biomarker development; translational research