The Sunitha Thakur Lab: Research Overview

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I am an assistant attending physicist in the Departments of Medical Physics and Radiology, where I collaborate with radiologists, neurologists, and physicists to develop and validate new magnetic resonance (MR) biomarkers to aid in the early detection of cancer, identify aggressive tumor growth, and evaluate treatment response. Specifically, I am developing biomarkers to understand the metabolism, biology, and vasculature of breast and brain tumors.

I am conducting preclinical research using an MR pulse sequence developed by our lab to develop lactate as a biomarker to evaluate tumor aggressiveness, response to novel therapies, and tumor microenvironment in breast cancer. I am also developing MR biomarkers to study the metabolism of 2-hydroxyglutarate (2HG) in brain tumors with and without isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH) mutations. In my clinical research, I am developing and implementing advanced MRI-based methods to obtain diagnostic and prognostic data and evaluate tumor response to standard therapies and to anti-angiogenesis agents (drugs that block the formation of new blood vessels surrounding a tumor). I have served as co-investigator on multiple research projects funded by the National Institutes of Health and as principle investigator for research funded by the Department of Defense and Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Brain Tumor Center .