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The Penet lab is within the Division of Cancer Imaging Research in the Department of Radiology and Radiological Science. The lab research focuses on using multimodal imaging techniques to better understand the microenvironment and improve cancer early detection, especially in ovarian cancer. By combining MRI, MRS and optical imaging, we are studying the tumor microenvironment to understand the role of hypoxia, tumor vascularization, macromolecular transport and tumor metabolism in tumor progression, metastasis and ascites formation in orthotopic models of cancer. We also are studying the role of tumor-associated macrophages in tumor progression.
The long-term objectives of our research team are:
a. to understand the molecular etiology in the development of human cancer, and
b. to identify and characterize cancer molecules for cancer detection, diagnosis, and therapy.
We use ovarian carcinoma as a disease model because it is one of the most aggressive neoplastic diseases in women. For the first research direction, we aim to identify and characterize the molecular alterations during initiation and progression of ovarian carcinomas.
Our scientists pursue out-of-the-box approaches at the very edge of knowledge to:
1) Elucidate the molecular/cellular/physiological landscapes of ovarian and uterine cancers.
2) Understand the earliest events in their development and mechanisms of tumor evolution/dormancy and drug resistance.
3) Deliver promises for better prevention, detection and treatment to women who have diseases or are at an increased risk to have these cancers.
Research in the Howard and Georgeanna Seegar Jones Reproductive Endocrinology Lab supports a broad interest in reproductive conditions, but has a particular focus on endometriosis, uterine fibroids, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and genes causing infertility. PCOS and uterine fibroids are among the most prevalent conditions leading to infertility and diseases in women, but both remain poorly understood. Studying these areas may lead to the development of new treatments or preventative therapies.