Cardio-Oncology; Down Syndrome; Drug Metabolism; Epigenetics; Monoclonal Antibodies; Pharmacoepigenomics; Pharmacogenomics; Translational Research
My research is focused on the systematic characterization of genetic and epigenetic factors that contribute to variable drug response in relevant clinical settings. My professional training in clinical biochemistry coupled to my background in cancer pharmacology allow me to perform patient-oriented research through a combination of approaches based on: 1) the analysis of biological samples from selected populations, 2) the use of an array of contemporary experimental platforms, 3) direct translation of laboratory findings into clinical studies in adult and pediatric patients. For example, through pivotal studies in collaboration with Dr. Smita Bhatia and colleagues from the Children’s Oncology group we have demonstrated that functional polymorphisms in genes involved in the pharmacodynamics of anticancer anthracycline drugs contribute to the risk of anthracycline-related cardiotoxicity in long-term survivors of pediatric cancers.
1) Individuals with Down syndrome experience multiple comorbid health problems that necessitate pharmacotherapeutic management with various drugs. We are performing studies to identify molecular determinants associated with the metabolism and disposition of clinically relevant drugs in persons with Down syndrome.
2) New projects in our lab are focused on the characterization of epigenetic determinants that control the variable expression of cellular receptors key for the pharmacological action of monoclonal antibody drugs in humans.
3) Our cardio-oncology research in collaboration with colleagues from the Children‘s Oncology Group (multi-institutional project led by Dr. Smita Bhatia) and the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center (Dr. Tracey O‘Connor) continues to identify risk factors for serious toxicities in survivors of pediatric and adult cancers. Our work is propelling the development of clinical algorithms to identify patients at risk for anthracycline-cardiotoxicity.