New Faculty Welcome: Dr. Nadine Hempel, Member of the Cancer Biology Program

March 25, 2021

Dr. Nadine Hempel

UPMC Hillman Cancer Center is pleased to welcome Nadine Hempel, Ph.D., to the faculty as a member of the cancer biology program. Hempel will serve as an associate professor of medicine in the division of hematology/oncology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Hempel’s research interests center on understanding molecular mechanisms that control the metastasis and recurrence of ovarian cancer, with the ultimate goal of identifying new drugs for therapy of advanced-stage disease. Her laboratory studies how tumors alter the production of antioxidant enzymes within cancer cells and in the microenvironment around them, and how mitochondria allow cancer cells to grow and spread.

Having focused on basic science for many years, Hempel has a keen interest in collaborating with physicians and scientists across Hillman to translate her discoveries in redox biology to the clinic. Among other interesting projects, she is exploring a precision medicine approach based on the antioxidant enzyme expression profile of tumor cells to exploit their vulnerability to pro-oxidant therapy, including the use of high dose vitamin C as an adjuvant therapy in metastatic ovarian cancer. Hempel joins a growing nucleus of outstanding ovarian cancer researchers at Hillman.

“Hillman has an exceptional group of tumor immunology and ovarian cancer researchers, which in addition to the ability to rapidly translate research into the clinic was a driving force in my decision to come to Pittsburgh,” said Hempel.

She received her doctoral degree in pharmacology from the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia and conducted postdoctoral research at Duke University and Albany Medical College. Prior to joining Hillman she was an Associate Professor in Pharmacology, Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Penn State College of Medicine and a Member of the Penn State Cancer Institute. Hempel has been funded by the National Cancer Institute, the Department of Defense Ovarian Cancer Research Program, and the Rivkin Foundation for Ovarian Cancer.

Hempel will move her lab to Pittsburgh starting July 1, 2021. She is joined at Pitt by her partner, Mohamed Trebak, Ph.D., who has been appointed as a professor of pharmacology and chemical biology and the director of faculty affairs and programmatic science at the Vascular Medicine Institute.

Outside the lab, Hempel enjoys the outdoors, often going on hiking and camping trips with her family and is an ardent gardener and baker.