2015 Mentored Investigator Grant Recipient — Justyna Filant, PhD
Serous ovarian cancer remains the leading cause of death among gynecologic malignancies. This is due to high rates of disease recurrence (>70%) after the standard therapy, highlighting the crucial need to develop better therapeutic strategies. Secreted nucleic acids as microRNAs (miRNAs) represent a newly discovered mechanism by which donor cells can influence the function of recipient cell. However, mechanisms regulating miRNA release and the specific role of secreted miRNAs in cancer remain unclear. Dr. Filant aims to identify extracellular miRNAs and use gene silencing molecules, called small interfering RNAs, or siRNAs, to intervene with miRNA release from ovarian malignant cells. Results of this work will help to develop a novel strategy using miRNA and siRNA to maximize therapeutic benefit in ovarian cancer.
Dr. Justyna Filant is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Gynecologic Oncology and Reproductive Medicine at University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. Dr. Filant completed her Master of Science degree in Biotechnology at University of Warmia and Mazury (Poland) and her Ph.D. in Animal Sciences at Washington State University. Her doctoral thesis was focused on mechanisms of uterine gland development and glandular epithelium function in the adult uterus. Dr. Filant remains interested in secretory processes of the cell. In her current research under the mentorship of Anil Sood, M.D., she aims to identify mechanisms of RNA release and develop novel therapeutic strategy to manipulate intracellular RNA levels in ovarian cancer.