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Led by Shelley Hwang, MD, MPH, Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Surgery, the Section of Breast Surgery is engaged in basic, translational, and clinical research, with a focus on early stage and in situ breast cancer.

Research Projects

Our current research efforts include:

  • Breast cancer vaccine trials to prevent breast cancer development through immunotherapy
  • Preinvasive cancer research to better understand how to prevent, diagnose, and treat DCIS
  • Detecting tumor cells in the blood to track real-time response to treatment
  • Development of technology to improve surgical care and better use electronic medical records

Advanced and Inflammatory Breast Cancer Research Program

Our comprehensive multi-disciplinary research and clinical team in the Department of Surgery, led by Gayathri Devi, MS, PhD, and Shelley Hwang, MD, is collectively focused on identifying the unique molecular, genomic, and immune characteristics associated with inflammatory breast cancer progression, developing preclinical and surgical methods for improved diagnosis and surgical outcomes, and the identification of novel therapeutic approaches, specifically for the treatment of inflammatory breast cancer. The ultimate goal is to improve the survival of inflammatory breast cancer patients.

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Research Laboratories

Determinants of Progression in Early Breast and Ovarian Cancer

Research efforts led by Jeffrey Marks, PhD, and E. Shelley Hwang, MD, MPH, focus on the earliest stages of breast cancer. Working at the center of multi-institutional and multi-disciplinary projects on the disease, the Marks-Hwang laboratory studies the genetics, microenvironment, and evolution of early breast cancer. 

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Immunology, Inflammation, and Immunotherapy Laboratory

The research in this laboratory, led by Smita Nair, PhD, focuses on the designing and testing of novel vaccines against cancer and viral infections using murine and human assay systems.

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Cell Death Laboratory

The research group, under the direction of Dr. Gayathri Devi, focuses on translational and clinical applications of programmed cell death signaling. 

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Joseph Lo Lab

The lab focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of cancer using advanced imaging techniques, including breast tomosynthesis, computer-aided diagnosis, and improved treatment planning for radiation therapy.

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