The Hedvig Hricak Lab: Research Overview


Our laboratory is working on establishing phenotypic signatures of cancer using multimodality anatomic and molecular imaging. We also aim to integrate multimodality imaging with anatomic pathology, genomics, and other molecular signatures to gain further insight into comprehensive molecular and anatomic tumor profiling. The goal is to further advance understanding of in vivo tumor biology and tumor heterogeneity (both spacial and temporal). We plan to develop and validate tumor biomarkers that can be used for treatment selection, assessment of treatment response or early detection of treatment resistance. Using advanced computational methods of radiomics and radiogenomics, we are evaluating how multimodality/multiplexing technology can advance our knowledge of tumor phenotypes and their associations with genomic mutations. We are also exploring targeted imaging and targeted therapies to ultimately expand the field of theranostics, which we believe is one of the future paths to precision medicine.

Our research focuses specifically on imaging of genitourinary and gynecological cancers, particularly the development and validation of biomarkers derived from cross-sectional imaging and molecular imaging techniques, including dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI, diffusion-weighted MRI, 1H-MR spectroscopy, PET/CT, MRI/PET, and hyperpolarized (HP) MRI. It also involves radiomics and radiogenomics analyses and the use of advanced computing tools, including machine learning and artificial intelligence, to enhance radiology workflow and offer streamlined approaches to lesion detection and characterization.

In the field of prostate imaging, our laboratory has established new clinical paradigms for the use of multiparametric MRI (combining anatomic, functional and/or metabolic imaging sequences) to inform the management of clinically significant disease and the assessment of patients with clinically low-risk prostate cancer being considered for, or undergoing, active surveillance. We are also engaged in the development of novel targeted molecular imaging contrast agents.

Our laboratory is furthermore dedicated to developing the careers of young investigators and supporting them on their paths to independence. Dr. Hricak works with non-profit agencies in the United States and abroad on multiple programs to train future leaders in the field of imaging sciences. These include an NIH-funded U54 CCNY-MSKCC Partnership grant, which she co-leads with Dr. Karen Hubbard, Professor of Biology at the City College of New York, to increase the numbers of competitively trained, underrepresented minority students who enroll in and complete MD, PhD, DO, and MD/PhD programs and who pursue cancer-related research careers. In addition, with the New York City Department of Education, we run a mentored research training program for juniors from New York City public high schools. We are deeply committed to training the next generation of cancer imaging scientists.