My work focuses on evaluation of radiation effects and cancer risk and progression through the assessment of normal tissues and cancers using a variety of experimental models. My work is preclinical and translational, moving science from bench/animal studies to early human trials. The primary model of interest for me has been the evaluation of cancer risk biomarkers and gene expression patterns in breast, uterus, cervix and prostate of nonhuman primates.
I have conducted retrospective and prospective human biomarker studies in breast, uterus and prostate. I also perform or collaborate on rodent studies of chemical or genetic carcinogenesis with a variety of investigators, encompassing mammary gland, uterus, prostate and other tissues.
In terms of interventions tested, my lab has evaluated a variety of hormonally active agents either preclinically or post-marketing, including estrogens, progestogens, selective estrogens, androgens and other compounds, as well as a variety of dietary agents.
More recently, I have contributed to the development of radiation countermeasures and dosimetry assessments in a post-exposure model, serving as a Primate Core for the Centers for Medical Countermeasures against Radiation. This activity allows me to apply my early radiation oncology training with my interest in primates, to create a unique national resource for the “adoption” and long-term study and care of previously-irradiated animals. I seek to further develop long-term populations of primates for study of chronic degenerative and neoplastic diseases, in support of research initiatives in cancer treatment, diabetes/metabolic disease, and chronic neurodegenerative disorders.
I have a particular interest in the study of spontaneously-occuring cancers in nonhuman primates, viewing these animals as patients. These fascinating animals provide a unique opportunity to study cancer risk, prevention and treatment in a species with close genetic similarity to human beings.