Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Cancer Biology, Clinical Focus: Radiation Oncology
I am originally from Dodge City, Kansas, and completed my B.S. in Cell Biology at the University of Kansas in Lawrence. While an undergraduate, I studied the adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) tumor suppressor gene and its role in the pathogenesis of colorectal cancer in the laboratory of Kristi Neufeld, Ph.D. in the Department of Molecular Biosciences.
Soon after beginning medical school I embarked on my doctoral research in the laboratory of Roy Jensen, M.D., director of the University of Kansas Cancer Center. Roy's laboratory studies the structure, regulation, and function of BRCA1, a multifunctional tumor suppressor gene involved in the pathogenesis of sporadic and hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. Under his direction, and with formal co-mentorship from Fariba Behbod, Pharm.D., Ph.D., my research focused on exploiting and manipulating BRCA1-dependent DNA double-strand break (DSB) and interstrand crosslink (ICL) repair. DSBs and ICLs are toxic genetic lesions that are induced by ionizing radiation and certain chemotherapeutic agents. My studies identified a clinically-viable mechanism to manipulate homologous recombination and non-homologous end-joining, two major pathways responsible for repair of DSB and ICL lesions. In effect, our research revealed a potential strategy to overcome DNA repair-mediated resistance to radiation and chemotherapy in breast and ovarian cancers. During my doctoral research and continuing into my clinical clerkships I also engaged in several clinical-translational projects with Priyanka Sharma, M.D., a breast medical oncologist at KUMC. We evaluated BRCA1 promoter methylation and other biomarkers of DNA repair capacity in both a retrospective and prospective cohort of triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) patients and demonstrated that the integrity of the homologous recombination pathway has clinical implications for treating patients with TNBC.
I am now a resident in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX. My basic research interests remain in molecular radiation biology and mechanisms of DNA damage recognition and repair. Clinically, I am interested in the management of patients with breast and gynecologic cancers using advanced radiation therapy techniques. My ultimate goal is to work as a physician-scientist where I can combine my training in cancer biology and radiation oncology to study, practice, and advance modern cancer medicine.
Members Association Council of American Association for Cancer Research (AARC) 4/2015 - 5/2018.
Shane Stecklein, M.D., Ph.D.