I am a surgical pathologist with experience in breast cancer gene expression profiling and genomics, and in combining traditional pathology information with data generated with high-throughput molecular techniques. The main focus of my research is on rare types of breast cancer, which together account for up to 25 percent of all invasive breast cancers. Unlike the common type of breast cancer, which comprises multiple entities with distinct biological features and clinical behaviors, tumors from each of the rare types have been shown to be relatively homogeneous at the molecular level.
With the recent development of techniques that allow us to survey the entire repertoire of mutations tumor cells harbor, we now have the opportunity to ascertain which alterations drive the growth and ability of these rare types of breast cancer to metastasize, and to define potential therapeutic targets that can be used to manage not only these rare cancers but also subsets of the common types of the disease. Understanding the anatomical and biological characteristics of tumors that govern their outcome and response to specific therapies is germane for the realization of the potentials of personalized medicine.
Our laboratory in the Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program also focuses on the impact of intra-tumor genetic heterogeneity on the biology and clinical behavior of breast cancers, and on the development of diagnostic, prognostic, and predictive biomarkers. We are currently investigating whether circulating DNA and/or circulating tumor cells can be used to define the constellation of mutations found in primary or metastatic breast cancers and whether the genetic analyses of these biological materials would complement the analysis of the primary tumor for clinical decision-making.
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center provides an optimal environment for me to pursue these research aims, given its collegial and collaborative environment, the well-characterized institutional collections of rare tumor types, and state-of-the-art research facilities.
Over the past seven years, I have lectured at various national and international conferences, and mentored PhD and MD students. I am the recipient of the 2007 CL Oakley Lectureship by the Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland, the British Association for Cancer Research 2007 Translational Research Award, the 2010 Ramzi Cotran Young Investigator Award by the United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology, and the 2010 Future Leaders Prize by Cancer Research UK. I am the youngest-ever Fellow of The Royal College of Pathologists to have become a member by published works. I am the international editor of Advances in Anatomical Pathology, an associate editor of The Journal of Pathology and BMC Cancer, a member of the scientific advisory board of Science Translational Medicine, and a member of the editorial board of Laboratory Investigation and Modern Pathology.
- Clinical Expertise: Experimental Pathology; Gene Expression Profiling; Genomics; Breast Cancer
- Languages Spoken: English
- Education: MD, Universidade do Porto (Portugal), Universidade Federal do Parana (Curitiba, Brazil); PhD, Universidade do Minho (Braga, Portugal) and The Institute of Cancer Research (London, UK)
- Residencies: Universidade Federal do Parana (Curitiba, Brazil)
- Fellowships: Institute of Molecular Pathology and Immunology, University of Porto (Portugal); The Institute of Cancer Research, Royal Marsden Hospital (London, UK)
- Board Certifications:
As home to one of the world’s top cancer research centers, Memorial Sloan Kettering is typically involved in more than 900 clinical trials at a given time. Currently, clinical trials focused on the conditions I treat are enrolling new patients. If you’re interested in joining a clinical trial, click to learn about the trial’s purpose, eligibility criteria, and how to get more information.Learn more