Professor and Director - Division of Gynecologic Oncology
John Ian Risinger received his BS degree in biology from Albright College in Reading, PA in 1987, and his MS in biology from The University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA in 1989. He completed his PhD in Molecular Biology and Genetics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1997. Following his PhD, he was an Intramural Scientist in the Laboratory of Biosystems and Cancer at the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD. Dr. Risinger accepted a Distinguished Cancer Scholar position with the State of Georgia, and became Director of the Program of Women’s Cancers at the Curtis and Elizabeth Anderson Cancer Institute, part of Memorial Health University Medical Center, as well as an Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Basic Medical Sciences at Mercer University in Savannah, GA.
He is currently Professor and Director of Gynecologic Oncology Research in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology in the College of Human Medicine at Michigan State University. In addition to his role at MSU Risinger Directs a Biorepository of Gynecologic Cancer Specimens at Spectrum Health Hospital and is a Partnered Member of The Department of Defense Gynecologic Cancer Center of Translational Research Excellence.
RESEARCH: Our 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 the 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.