Our research group focuses on understanding how cancer and cancer therapies interact with the immune system and translating these insights into novel therapies for patients with head and neck cancer, melanoma, and other cancer types.
A related topic of investigation is understanding the unique biology of viral (HPV-related) and non-viral (tobacco/alcohol-related) head and neck cancers and exploiting this information to develop biomarkers of cancer risk, prognosis, and treatment response.
- Tumor metabolism
- Functional genomics of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma
- Treatment resistance (conventional and targeted)
- Genomic regulation of the tumor immune microenvironment
Key Research Questions
- How do shifts in tumor metabolism drive adaptation to chemotherapy and radiation induced oxidative stress?
- How do tumor cells repurpose mitochondrial activity toward biomass generation under conditions of stress?
- How does NOTCH regulation drive tumorigenesis in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma?
- What is the impact of differential NOTCH regulation on sensitivity to conventional chemotherapy and targeted agents?
- How does tobacco exposure impact the tumor immune microenvironment and treatment response in HPV-associated oropharyngeal cancer?
To answer these questions we perform studies in mouse- and chick egg-based model tumor systems; human cell and cell-line culture experiments; studies of patient samples collected before and after treatment; and clinical trials with new immune-based therapies.