Recent advances in understanding ovarian cancer suggest that epithelial ovarian cancer can be classified into two groups: low-grade type I cancer which progress slowly from well-defined precursor lesions, and high-grade type II cancer which progress rapidly with ill-defined precursor lesions. Since type II tumors progress rapidly, most patients with type II ovarian cancer patients are diagnosed at an advance stage. Better understanding of genetic alterations associated with progression of type II ovarian cancer is expected to facilitate the discovery of novel biomarkers for early detection and the identification of novel therapeutic targets. Dr. Ota’s proposal will generate mouse models to study the early carcinogenesis of type II ovarian cancer and study ovarian cancer stem cells, a population of self-generating cells that keep the tumor alive, for therapeutic intervention.
Dr. Takayo Ota, native of Japan, is a post doctoral fellow in the Division of Experimental Pathology, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine. She received her MD from Kinki University, Japan and PhD from University of British Columbia, under the mentorship of Dr. Nelly Auersperg. During her graduate training, her research focused on HOX genes in ovarian cancer. In her current research training with Dr. Jeremy Chien, she is interested in the identification of the origins of epithelial ovarian carcinomas.