Positions

Assistant Professor
Breast Center
Baylor College of Medicine
Houston, TX, US

Education

PhD from Otto von Guericke University
Cancer Biology
Postdoctoral Fellowship at Washington University School of Medicine
Cancer Genomics

Professional Statement

Non-canonical HER2 activation in human cancer

Investigating the impact of HER-targeted drugs on HER2/EGFR non-amplified solid tumors

Targeting HER family members is one of the greatest successes in oncology. It is, therefore, essential to fully identify all cancers that are driven by these oncogenes in order to take full advantage of the wide array of HER targeting agents available. Until recently, HER-targeted therapy is only effective in HER2/EGFR-amplified cancers. However, using genome-sequencing approaches we showed that HER2-mutation status can predict response to HER-targeted therapy. We are currently using proteomic approaches to identify novel subsets of breast cancer patients who could benefit from HER-targeted therapy using patient-derived xenografts (PDXs), publicly available breast cancer datasets such as the Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), and our breast cancer patient sequencing studies. Additionally, our research focuses on understanding the biological underpinnings of sensitivity and resistant to HER-targeted therapy in breast and colorectal cancers.

To test the impact of tyrosine kinase (TK) mutations in human cancers

The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) have identified several activating HER2 mutations in breast and colorectal cancers. We provided the functional and clinical impact of HER2 mutations in breast and colorectal cancer patients using cancer cell lines, PDX models, and in a clinical trials setting. Genome sequencing of ER+ breast cancer patients we have identified novel tyrosine kinase mutations that drive poor prognosis but our understanding of the biochemistry of these mutations in ER+ breast cancer is extremely limited. We will, therefore, study how specific poor prognosis tyrosine kinase mutations, discovered in our sequencing analysis, reprogram the kinome as a prelude to developing an effective therapeutic approach.

Selected Publications

Funding

Career Catalyst award
Grant funding from Susan. G. Komen
Kinome Analysis to rationalize targeting HER2 and DDR1 breast cancer mutations