The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Department of Gynecologic Oncology & Reproductive Medicine
My laboratory focuses on delineating the role of tumor microenvironment in ovarian cancer progression. Ovarian cancer is the deadliest gynecological cancer. One critically important yet often overlooked component to the tumor initiation and progression process is the contribution from the tumor stromal microenvironment. The stroma comprises the structural support for tissues, providing an interactive matrix for cells to grow and dynamically rearrange. Primarily composed of fibroblasts and extracellular matrix proteins (ECM) as well as some endothelial cells, immune cells, and adipocytes in the omentum, the microenvironment has been shown to play an important role in many biological processes from tissue development to proper organ function. The tumor microenvironment has been shown by previous studies to be drastically different from the normal microenvironment, possessing the ability to promote tumor initiation of normal epithelial cells and facilitate progression of malignant cells. Such characteristics identify the tumor microenvironment as an important factor in understanding the behavior of cancer and as such, may provide a new opportunity for intervention for diagnosis and treatment. Research projects include the use of real time coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering (CARS) combined with two-photon excitation microscopy to study the interactions between ovarian cancer cells and adipocytes in the omentum, functional studies of cancer associated fibroblasts (CAF) and adipocytes (CAA) derived mediators on ovarian cancer progression, delineating the functional role of cargos delivered by exosomes and microvesicles secreted by stromal cells in cancer stromal cell communication, and the development of therapeutic agents including antibodies, and nanoparticle encapsulated siRNAs to target cancer associated stromal proteins in ovarian cancer treatment.
Education & Training
Ph.D. - The Chinese University of Hong Kong - 1987