In January the UCLA Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology welcomed Dr. Sandra Orsulic to our faculty. Dr. Orsulic is a prominent cancer biologist whose work over the past 20 years has helped shape research modeling of early ovarian cancer development. After receiving her PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Dr. Orsulic trained in the lab of Nobel Laureate Dr. Harold Varmus, and established her own laboratory research as Assistant Professor of Pathology at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital. For the last twelve years, Dr. Orsulic continued to grow her research portfolio at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
Research from Dr. Orsulic’s lab focuses on the development of mouse models in which ovarian cancers are induced and studied during its early stages of growth and metastatic progression. Her laboratory has generated multiple syngeneic mouse ovarian cancer cell lines with defined genetic alterations that recapitulate the development and pathophysiological manifestations of human ovarian cancer as well as the complexity of cancer-stroma interactions. Her team is using these models to determine the functional contributions of individual molecular pathways to cell transformation, immune response to cancer progression, recruitment of cancer-associated fibroblasts, and development of therapeutic resistance. Recent published efforts by the Orsulic lab are studying mechanisms by which the microenvironment contributes to cancer initiation and progression. This information is used to identify molecular markers for early cancer detection, and to generate functional models for testing targeted therapies.
Selected publications from Dr. Orsulic’s research include: