RESEARCH: Research is focused on the underlying molecular defects that lead to endometrial and ovarian cancer. Our laboratory focuses on several aspects of gynecologic cancer. Obesity and Endometrial Cancer. We are interested in the role of obesity in the development of endometrial cancer. Epidemiologic evidence indicates that about half of all endometrial cancers are thought to be related to obesity. Currently our lab is studying the functional role of two obesity related micro RNAs in the progression of endometrial cancers. Metastasis. Many endometrial cancers can be cured by surgery if disease is restricted to the Uterine body. Many metastasis are not recognized at time of surgery and subsequently represent recurrent metastatic disease. Women with endometrial cancers that have metastasized have very poor outcomes as few effective chemotherapeutics exist for these cancers. We are developing metastasis prediction tools for endometrial cancer which may identify pre-operatively those cancers with occult metastasis and high risk for extra-uterine spread. We believe if these women are identified earlier in their clinical experience their prognosis will improve. Furthermore we are exploring the functional roles of metastasis associated genes in cancer biology. These studies are done in conjunction with a Department of Defense funded National Gynecologic Cancer Translational Research Center of Excellence. Ovarian Cancer Biomarkers. We are also studying the relevance of several novel genes in ovarian cancer. These genes while functionally unknown are highly expressed in ovarian cancers and may represent new diagnostic, prognostic or therapeutic targets for this deadly disease.