I am profoundly engaged in translational and clinical research in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) physics, with the ultimate goal of developing and validating new MR biomarkers for early detection of cancer, assessment of tumor aggressiveness, and treatment response.
My group’s basic research is focused on using MR methods to investigate novel cancer drug therapy with breast cancer models and to study cancer biology, with an emphasis on angiogenesis and hypoxia. Preclinical research plays a significant role in the development of new therapies. I have successfully developed a new MR method for proton MR chemical shift imaging to detect lactate and choline and to map the heterogeneity of the tumor tissue microenvironment. We are aiming at developing lactate metabolite as a biomarker for tumor aggressiveness and early treatment response to antiangiogenic drugs. Enhancing early detection of breast cancer can facilitate adaptation of treatments, avoid increased toxicity in patients who are not responding to treatment, and provide guidance for new therapeutic approaches.
My clinical research is focused on developing and implementing advanced MRI-based methods, such as diffusion-weighted imaging, dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI, and MR spectroscopy, for application in the diagnosis and treatment of breast and brain cancer. My colleagues and I have identified, measured, and validated specific MRI and metabolic biomarkers for the early detection of cancer in the breast. Another area of interest to me is the use of two-dimensional MR spectroscopic imaging for clinical diagnosis of brain tumors, with an emphasis on defining the presence, spatial extent, and grade of malignancy to provide a guide to improved radiation treatment planning in brain tumors.