Description of Research Expertise
The Drapkin laboratory focuses on developing a comprehensive understanding of the genetic, molecular and physiological factors that drive the development of cancer, with a special focus on gynecologic malignancies. Recent work from our group and others has implicated the fallopian tube (FT) secretory cell as the likely cell-of-origin for a majority of high-grade serous ovarian carcinomas. This new concept of ovarian tumorigenesis has been a paradigm shift in the field and the Drapkin lab has been at the forefront in developing novel experimental platforms that address the role of the FT epithelium and its susceptibility to neoplastic transformation. These platforms include genetically engineered mouse (GEM) models, fallopian tube-derived cell lines, and patient-derived tumor xenografts. The lab is currently focused on utilizing these models to interrogate how genetic and epigenetic alterations influence lineage dependencies, genomic instability, the tumor microenvironment, innervation, and drug resistance. The goal is to define selective vulnerabilities that can guide novel therapeutic approaches and biomarker development.
KEYWORDS: Ovarian cancer, Fallopian tube, Genomics/Epigenomics of precursor lesions, Tumor Microenvironment, Tumor Innervation, Cyclin E, BRCA1/2, DNA Repair, Protein complexes, Master Transcription Factors, Biomarkers, Animal models.
Rotation projects are open to students in each of the areas the lab focuses on. Please see Ronny Drapkin to discuss potential rotation projects.
Stefan Gysler, MD, Gynecologic Oncologist, Faculty
Marilyn Mitchell, Research Specialist - Lab Manager
Yelena Zhuravlev, Program Manager
Hannah Rendulich, Research Specialist
Matthew Knarr, PhD, Postdoctoral Researcher
Pamela Rojas de Santiago, Postdoctoral Researcher
Gabriel Mingo, Postdoctoral Researcher
Dusan Racordon, Postdoctoral Researcher
Katherine Cummins, Postdoctoral Researcher
Hunter Reavis, Graduate Student
Adam Ferrari, Graduate Student
Doberstein K, Spivak R, Reavis HD, Hooda J, Feng Y, Kroeger PT Jr, Stuckelberger S, Mills GB, Devins KM, Schwartz LE, Iwanicki MP, Fogel M, Altevogt P, Drapkin R: L1CAM is required for early dissemination of fallopian tube carcinoma precursors to the ovary. Communications Biology 5 (1): 1362,2022.
Balood M, Ahmadi M, Eichwald T, Ahmadi A, Majdoubi A, Roversi K, Roversi K, Lucido CT, Restaino AC, Huang S, Ji L, Huang KC, Semerena E, Thomas SC, Trevino AE, Merrison H, Parrin A, Doyle B, Vermeer DW, Spanos WC, Williamson CS, Seehus CR, Foster SL, Dai H, Shu CJ, Rangachari M, Thibodeau J, V Del Rincon S, Drapkin R, Rafei M, Ghasemlou N, Vermeer PD, Woolf CJ, Talbot S: Nociceptor neurons affect cancer immunosurveillance. Nature 611 (7935): 405-412,2022.
Chaves-Moreira D, Mitchell MA, Arruza C, Rawat P, Sidoli S, Nameki R, Reddy J, Corona RI, Afeyan LK, Klein IA, Ma S, Winterhoff B, Konecny GE, Garcia BA, Brady DC, Lawrenson K, Morin PJ, Drapkin R: The transcription factor PAX8 promotes angiogenesis in ovarian cancer through interaction with SOX17. Science Signaling 15 (728): eabm2496,2022.
Gysler SM, Drapkin R: Tumor innervation: peripheral nerves take control of the tumor microenvironment. J Clin Invest 131 (11): 2021.
Reavis HD, Chen HI, Drapkin R: Tumor Innervation: Cancer Has Some Nerve. Trends in Cancer 6 (12): 1059-1067,2020.
Hooda J, Novak M, Salomon MP, Matsuba C, Ramos RI, MacDuffie E, Song M, Hirsch MS, Lester J, Parkash V, Karlan BY, Oren M, Hoon DS, Drapkin R: Early loss of Histone H2B monoubiquitylation alters chromatin accessibility and activates key immune pathways that facilitate progression of ovarian cancer. Cancer Research 79 (4): 760-772,2019.
Labidi-Galy SI, Papp E, Hallberg D, Niknafs N, Adleff V, Noe M, Bhattacharya R, Novak M, Jones S, Phallen J, Hruban CA, Hirsch MS, Lin DI, Schwartz L, Maire CL, Tille JC, Bowden M, Ayhan A, Wood LD, Scharpf RB, Kurman R, Wang TL, Shih IM, Karchin R, Drapkin R*, Velculescu VE*., * Co-senior/corresponding authors: High grade serous ovarian carcinomas originate in the fallopian tube. Nature Communications 8 (1): 1093,2017.
Elias KM, Emori MM, Westerling T, Long H, Budina-Kolomets A, Li F, MacDuffie E, Davis MR, Holman A, Lawney B, Freedman ML, Quackenbush J, Brown M, Drapkin R: Epigenetic remodeling regulates transcriptional changes between ovarian cancer and benign precursors. JCI Insight 1 (13): e87988,2016.
Karst AM, Jones PM, Vena N, Ligon AH, Liu JF, Hirsch MS, Etemadmoghadam D, Bowtell DD, Drapkin R: Cyclin E1 deregulation occurs early in secretory cell transformation to promote formation of fallopian tube-derived high-grade serous ovarian cancers. Cancer Res 74 (4): 1141-52,2014.
Perets R, Muto KW, Bijron JG, Poole BB, Chin KT, Kwak S, Chen JYH, Karst AM, Setlur SR, Hirsch MS, Crum CP, Dinulescu DM, Drapkin R: Transformation of the fallopian tube secretory epithelium leads to high-grade serous ovarian cancer in Brca;Tp53;Pten models. *Highlighted in Nature Reviews Cancer, Cancer Discovery, and Cancer Research. Cancer Cell 24: 751-65 : 2013.
View all publications
Academic Contact Information
University of Pennsylvania
Biomedical Research Building
421 Curie Blvd., Rm. 1215
Patient appointments: 800-789-7366