My research interests focus on autophagy, a multi-step process that cancer can use to survive. It is possible to block this survival mechanism and hopefully make cancer easier to kill with other treatments like radiation and chemotherapy. My research has three goals to improve survival of kids with brain tumors. First, find which step of the process should be blocked to kill the most tumor cells. Second, to find which brain tumors depend most on autophagy to survive. And finally, to determine if a specific genetic mutation found in some pediatric brain tumors can identify patients who will most benefit from autophagy directed treatments.
For Referring Providers:
My laboratory research focus is the study of autophagy, a multi-step cellular catabolic process that turns over long-lived proteins and organelles and contributes to cell and organism survival during nutrient deprivation and other stresses. Autophagy has been shown to be important in the development of cancer and is a promising target for manipulation to improve cancer treatment and survival. My goal is to determine how to utilize autophagy to improve therapy for patients with malignant central nervous system (CNS) tumors. I also have a translational research interest in using the power of laboratory findings to identify patients at higher risk of adverse neurocognitive outcomes due to the negative effects of radiation and chemotherapy.