Research and Clinical Interests
I am a physician-scientist focusing on understanding the biology, discovering prognostic and predictive biomarkers, and developing new systemic treatments for cutaneous melanoma. During my tenure at UPMC (2005-2011), I led the effort of performing and analyzing clinical data and tumor tissue from the first translational neoadjuvant trial in cutaneous melanoma (PMID: 16809739). I discovered that the single SUMO E2 conjugating enzyme, Ubc9, is highly expressed in melanoma-infiltrated lymph nodes and is a mediator of radioresistance and chemoresistance in melanoma (PMID: 17297476). My lab was the first to describe the role of oxidative phosphorylation as both an important metabolic process and therapeutic target in metastatic melanoma (PMID: 22912665, 23043612). My group was the first to describe that tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes exist in melanoma brain metastases, in contrast to a previous notion, and have prognostic significance (PMID: 23695963).
During my tenure at UNC-CH I was a member of the NCI-led Writing Group and Data Analysis Committee for the Cancer Genome Atlas in Cutaneous Melanoma (PMID: 26091043). I led the effort by the UNC to analytically validate and assess performance of the UNCseqä targeting sequencing panel in a lung cancer patient tumor dataset (PMID: 26076459).