The ultimate research goal of my laboratory is to understand the molecular mechanisms of tumor heterogeneity and clonal evolution of genitourinary tumors. My medical and surgical training allied with research experience in a wide variety of topics give me a solid background to apply computational cancer genomics and machine learning algorithms to study tumor progression.
During the second year of my urology residency in Portugal, I decided to move to the US to pursue a Ph.D. at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. My interest in cancer biology dates back to my graduate work focused on alterations in the Notch and PTEN pathways involved in prostate cancer progression and metastasis. I decided to continue at Johns Hopkins as research fellow to explore genomic and epigenetic alterations that switch cellular programs of senescence into tumorigenesis. This work focused on perturbations of cell states that lead to cancer progression upraise my interest to understand tumor clonal evolution using high-throughput computational techniques in urologic cancers.
These last seven years of residency and fellowship have been extremely fruitful to learn clinical and surgical management of urological cancers complementing my previous research work. As a Urologic Oncologist focused on treating patients with bladder cancer, I am intrigued by the heterogenous tumor response to systemic therapy and inability to definitively recommend upfront surgery. The research project proposed to the Karin Grunebaum Foundation Cancer Research Fellowship provides a unique opportunity to understand tumor architecture of cisplatin resistant bladder cancer and translate pre-clinical findings into potential novel drug combinations for future clinical trials.