My research interests are in the molecular genetics, genetics, and genomics of gynecologic and breast cancers. Currently I am focused on the early natural histories of ovarian carcinoma and metastatic breast cancer, the genomics of ovarian cancer stem/progenitor cells, and the hypothesis that most breast cancers result from polygenic susceptibility.
My research interests have long been in the somatic molecular genetics, inherited genetics, and genomics of gynecologic (endometrial and ovarian) and breast cancers. Current areas of focus include elucidating the early natural history of epithelial ovarian carcinoma using combined histopathologic and molecular genetic techniques. The histogenesis of ovarian carcinoma remains very poorly understood, which is remarkable for a relatively common solid tumor type. With the recent advent of technology allowing for the interrogation of cancer “omics,” a related research goal is to perform a comprehensive genomic characterization of putative ovarian cancer stem/progenitor cells. With respect to breast cancer, I am focused on two novel hypotheses. The first is that primary breast cancers do not metastasize (linear model), but rather that primary and metastatic breast cancer lesions arise concomitantly from a small population of breast cancer stem cells (parallel model). This hypothesis is based on epidemiologic and clinical data, but awaits rigorous testing in the laboratory. Second is the hypothesis that a majority of breast cancers occur in a genetically susceptible minority of the population. This hypothesis is also based on epidemiologic and clinical data, and requires a polygenic basis for “genetic susceptibility” in this context. Finding the right laboratory and computational approach(es) to this hypothesis is a great challenge, but a tractable one. Finally, I am exploiting the advent of next-generation sequencing technology and my career-long desire to affect cancer patient care by creating a clinical molecular diagnostics program (Center for Genomic Medicine) at our clinical affiliate, the Northwell Health Cancer Institute.
New genetic research to understand racial disparity in cancers
September 8, 2020
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory will study the genetic contributions of ethnicity to colon, endometrial, and pancreas cancers in African Americans.
New faculty Jeff Boyd studies breast cancer genomics
March 26, 2020
Professor Jeff Boyd joins the CSHL faculty, studying the growth and spread of breast cancer.