Dr. Sarah Woodfield, Dr. Sarah E. Woodfield, assistant professor of surgery in the Pediatric Surgical Oncology Lab in the Division of Pediatric Surgery at Baylor College of Medicine, has been awarded a $642,000 Career Development Award from the United States Department of Defense office of Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs. Her project is titled "Characterizing and Targeting Circulating Tumor Cells in Pediatric Liver Cancer." The aims of this three-year study are to investigate the use of circulating tumor cell numbers to predict patient prognosis and disease characteristics, target CTCs with experimental therapies, and analyze the role of signaling pathways in the aggressive characteristics of CTCs.
Dr. Woodfield began as a postdoctoral trainee in the PSOL under the mentorship of Dr. Sanjeev A. Vasudevan, associate professor in the Division of Pediatric Surgery. Dr. Woodfield stayed in the PSOL as a co-principal investigator with Dr. Vasudevan and was a previous recipient of the Michael E. DeBakey Department of Surgery Seed Grant and the Clayton Award from the Texas Children’s Department of Surgery. Her work on pediatric liver cancer CTCs was philanthropically funded this past year by the Owls for Avery Foundation, now resulting in federal funding for this important work. During this career development grant, Dr. Woodfield will be supported by a mentoring committee of Drs. Dolores Lopez-Terrada, professor in the Division of Pathology and Immunology at Baylor and chief in the Division of Genomic Medicine at Texas Children’s Hospital; Sanjeev Vasudevan, associate professor in the Division of Pediatric Surgery; Susan Blaney, professor in the Division of Pediatrics at Baylor; Pavel Sumazin, associate professor in the Division of Pediatrics at Baylor; and Meghana Trivedi, associate professor in the Division of Pharmacy Practice and Translational Research at the University of Houston.