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Dr. Diergaarde's research examines the role of diet, lifestyle and genetic variation in the development, progression and treatment of cancer, including cancers of the lung, head and neck, colon, ovaries and breast, and aims to identify markers for risk stratification, early detection and response to treatment. She is currently Co-Leader of Project 2 of the UPCI Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) in Lung Cancer. This project seeks to establish the relationship between vitamin D exposure, pulmonary inflammation and lung cancer risk and so provide strong rationale for a vitamin D-based approach to lung cancer prevention. She is also Leader of Project 1 of the UPCI SPORE in Head and Neck Cancer. Using data and samples from a large, clinic-based case-control study, this project investigates the role of genetic variation and gene-environment interactions in the development, progression and treatment of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.
Melanoma is a deadly cancer when caught late yet is often surgically curable disease when detected and treated at the earliest stages. Fortunately, most melanomas begin on the skin, and thus we have the opportunity to detect them using visual examination. However, early detection of melanoma can be challenging and access to dermatologic care is often limited. This can lead to failure to detect melanoma when it is most treatable or to a high rate of removal of benign lesions. Both increase health care costs and put patients at risk. My research focuses on new techniques to improve the early detection of cutaneous melanoma. Artificial intelligence can be applied to the analysis of images of pigmented skin lesions. In addition, I am interested in understanding which patients benefit most from screening for melanoma and have several publications that examine melanoma epidemiology, detection patterns, and associations between melanoma screening and outcomes.
Dr. Hu's lab focuses on the identification and validation of crucial molecular changes that confer high-risk for tumor progression in mutant BRAF-induced serrated intestinal tumorigenesis. Her lab works to identify novel factors essential for serrated CRC development that can serve as pharmacological targets for the prevention of serrated CRC at an early and curable stage. Dr. Hu's lab also works to identify and validate novel functionally relevant and druggable targets for PDAC.
Dr. Jacobs’ research interests focus on improving the access, delivery, and quality of care, particularly for traditionally underserved populations. He has over 100 publications, including studies in high-impact journals such as JAMA, Health Affairs, and Cancer. He is the principal investigator on an R37 MERIT award from the National Cancer Institute and has received grant support from several other agencies, including the National Institute on Aging, the American Cancer Society, and the Shadyside Hospital Foundation. He is the Research Chief of the Urology Health Services Research Division. Clinically, Dr. Jacobs specializes in urologic oncology, including bladder, kidney, prostate, testis, and penile cancer.
Dr. Luu has a broad background in medicine and epidemiology, with specific training and expertise in the molecular and genetic epidemiology of cancer as well as large population-based studies. His main research focuses on etiological role of genetic factors, lifestyle factors, and environment exposures, particularly chronic inflammation, in the development of cancer as well as their impact on prognosis of cancer patients, particularly patients with gastrointestinal cancers such as colorectal cancer, pancreatic cancer and liver cancer.
Dr. Phuong Mai’s work focuses on the role of genetic testing to identify individuals with a hereditary predisposition to cancers, including breast and ovarian cancer. She is also working on risk reducing interventions and early-detection in individuals at increased cancer risk.
Dr. Modugno is a molecular epidemiologist focused on women’s cancers, especially ovarian, breast, and endometrial cancers. Dr. Modugno’s research has examined the underlying epidemiology of ovarian and breast cancer etiology and outcomes with a focus on genetic, hormonal, and immunologic factors. As the Principal Investigator of the HOPE study, one of the largest studies of ovarian cancer risk and prognosis ever conducted in the US (2003-2008), Dr. Modugno was a founding member of the Ovarian Cancer Association Consortium (OCAC), a multinational consortium of ovarian cancer investigators that pools data and resources to investigate ovarian cancer risk and prognostic factors. She currently serves as the OCAC Data Access Chair and is a member of the Steering Committee. She holds similar roles in the international Ovarian Tumor Tissue Association (OTTA), which is investigating the molecular basis for ovarian cancer outcomes. Her recent funding is examining the relationship among humoral and cellular immunity, the gut microbiome, circulating metabolome, and the tumor immune microenvironment in ovarian cancer therapy response.
Dr. Modugno directs the Women's Cancer Biome Program, which is focused on identifying the relationship between the microbiome and cancer/cancer prevention in women. She also oversees the Gynecologic Oncology Biospecimen and Data Bank (ProMark). The repository collects fresh tissue and biospecimens on women with suspected gynecologic malignancies as well as on healthy women per investigator protocols. The repository also banks specimens for retrospective studies. Resources of the repository are available to researchers interested in gynecologic oncology or related research.
Dr. Modugno co-led the Pittsburgh site for the RPCI/HCC Ovarian Cancer SPORE and directed the Pathology and Biospecimen Core and the Developmental and Career Enhancement Programs. The resources and infrastructure developed by Dr. Modugno during her tenure as a RPCI/HCC SPORE co-leader were leveraged to support the subsequent independent HCC Ovarian SPORE submission.
My research emphasis is on developing novel artificial and intelligence (AI) tools for enabling non-invasive, quantitative, and accurate assessment of pathological conditions, ultimately advancing a deeper understanding of the underlying mechanism of diseases and facilitating the development of efficacious therapy methods.
The primary research interests of the Singh laboratory include molecular characterization of novel cancer chemopreventive agents and rational design of mechanism-driven combination chemoprevention regimens. Cellular and transgenic animal models are used to screen potential cancer chemopreventive constituents from dietary and medicinal plants. Cutting edge cellular, molecular biological, omics (metabolomics and proteomics), structural biology, and imaging techniques (MRI and bioluminescence) are used to (a) determine the mechanism of action of promising cancer chemopreventive agents, (b) monitor effects on cancer progression, and (c) identify biomarkers predictive of tissue exposure and possibly response. Some of the agents under active investigation in the Singh laboratory include: cruciferous vegetable-derived isothiocyanates, garlic-derived organosulides, and medicinal plant constituent withaferin A. As an example, recent published work from the Singh laboratory indicates suppression of metabolism (glycolysis and fatty acid synthesis) in mammary cancer prevention by withaferin A in a rodent models. The Singh lab is also leading a clinical trial of broccoli sprout in prostate cancer patients.
Dr. Talbott's areas of expertise are in environmental and cardiovascular epidemiology. Dr. Talbott has worked closely with both state and local health departments to conduct health studies investigating potential linkage of environmental exposures and health effects.
Dr. Wilson's research interests include: lung cancer screening and early detection, biomarker development and implementation, chemoprevention, diagnosis, staging and treatment of lung cancer; COPD, especially as it relates to lung cancer; occupational lung diseases; and general pulmonary medicine.
My research interfaces a broad range of interdisciplinary in computational science and medicine for translational and clinical applications. My main research areas include computational biomedical imaging analysis, big (health) data coupled with machine/deep learning, imaging-based clinical studies, radiomics/radiogenomics, and artificial intelligence in clinical informatics/workflows. Current research interests center on computational breast imaging and clinical studies for investigating quantitative imaging-derived biomarkers, models, and systems for breast cancer screening, risk assessment, diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment, towards improving individualized clinical decision-making and precision medicine. My research also covers other diseases/organs, such as pancreatic cancer, liver cancer, gastric cancer, traumatic brain injury, cardiac arrest, intestinalis, orthopedics, obesity, organoid, etc.
My lab received the prestigious "RSNA (Radiological Society of North America) Trainee Research Award" twice in 2017 and 2019, and the Natus Resident/Fellow Award for Traumatic Brain Injury by 2021 AANS (American Association of Neurological Surgeons). My lab's research is supported by NIH/NCI/NIBIB, NSF, RSNA, UPMC Enterprise, Pittsburgh Health Data Alliance, Pittsburgh Foundation, Stanley Marks Research Foundation, Amazon AWS, Nvidia, and many internal funding sources. I have published over 150 journal papers and conference papers/abstracts in both the computing and clinical fields, including in Nature Cancer, Nature Communications, Radiology, Clinical Cancer Research, Breast Cancer Research, Surgery, Resuscitation, IEEE Journal of Biomedical and Health Informatics, Pattern Recognition, AI in Medicine, IEEE Transactions on Cybernetics, CVPR, MICCAI, ICCV, IJCAI, ICRA, etc. My research has been featured in hundreds of scientific news reports and media outlets in the world. I founded and currently lead the Pittsburgh Center for AI Innovation in Medical Imaging (CAIIMI).
Dr. Yip's primary research interest is evaluating the role of molecular markers in thyroid and parathyroid cancer to improve risk stratification and optimize efficacy in patient management algorithms.
Dr. Yuan is a cancer epidemiologist with extensive experience in research on cancer etiology and prevention. Dr. Yuan’s research lab has been continuously funded by National Cancer Institute for more than two decades. Currently, Dr. Yuan’s research focuses on the impact of obesity on risk of cancer. Dr. Yuan also is leading a team of scientists to evaluate the effectiveness of sulforaphane derived from broccoli on reduction of risk markers for lung cancer in high-risk individuals. As Principal Investigator of both the Shanghai Cohort Study and the Singapore Chinese Health Study, two population-based prospective cohorts of more than 80,000 adults with available baseline blood and urine samples with more than 25 years of active follow-up for cancer and other major health outcomes, Dr. Yuan continues to utilize these large cohort resources to discover and validate novel biomarkers for risk of cancer development. These two cohorts have made several noteworthy contributions to the field of cancer epidemiology including (1) dietary aflatoxins as human hepatocarcinogens, (2) significant roles of immune biomarkers and secondary bile acids for the development of hepatocellular carcinoma, (3) dietary isothiocyanates, a group of phytochemicals found in cruciferous vegetables, as potential chemopreventive agents against lung cancer development, and (4) urinary biomarkers of tobacco-specific nitrosamines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons as specific lung carcinogens in smokers.
My research primarily focuses on the epidemiology and genetics of osteoporosis. A long-term goal is to identify and characterize the genetic factors underlying osteoporosis susceptibility in different ethnic/racial groups. To achieve these goals, we have used several strategies including: population-based candidate gene methods; genome-wide admixture, linkage and association mapping; and most recently, an in vitro cellular model. This later approach is enabling us to translate discoveries made at the cellular level to the 'population' and vice versa to gain insight into the molecular genetic mechanisms underlying osteoporosis susceptibility.