Dr. Speers is an Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center. He completed his medical and graduate degrees in the MSTP program at Baylor College of Medicine and MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX before completing his residency and Holman Pathway training at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. After joining the faculty at the University of Michigan as a physician scientist, he has continued his research exploring the biology of aggressive breast cancers, including inflammatory, lobular, and triple-negative breast cancer. His laboratory is interested in “bench to bedside” research that includes basic mechanistic studies, translational pre-clinical studies, and clinical research. His interest in targeted therapies include PARP-inhibitors, CDK 4/6 inhibitors, and androgen receptor antagonists as agents for radiosensitization. His lab has also utilized kinome screens to identify novel targets for the treatment of aggressive breast cancers, including lobular breast cancer. In addition, his research group has a number of clinically oriented and bioinformatics based studies that focus on utilizing expression-based signatures to predict breast cancer patients that need treatment intensification and signatures to identify patient who will not need further adjuvant therapy, including radiation therapy, for breast cancer. Finally, his translational work focuses on correlative studies looking at biospecimens from clinical trials to uncover ways to predict treatment efficacy and toxicity.
The Speers laboratory research includes nomination and validation of expression-based signatures to predict patients that need treatment intensification and signatures to identify patient who will not need further adjuvant therapy for breast cancer. Moreover, our translational work has credentialed a number of novel targets for the treatment of estrogen and progesterone receptor-negative, HER2-negative “triple-negative” breast cancer, a particularly aggressive and difficult to treat form of breast cancer. As PI or co-Investigator on several university-, industry-, private foundation- and NIH-funded grants, we remain active in the radiation and breast cancer research arena by looking for more effective, targeted therapies for women with breast cancer. These targeted therapies include PARP-inhibitors, BET bromodomain inhibitors, and androgen receptor antagonists as agents for radiosensitization. We have also utilized kinome screens to identify novel targets for the treatment of aggressive breast cancers, including triple-negative breast cancer. Finally, we are also interested in the mechanisms of treatment resistance that include modulation of breast tumor initiating cells and understanding novel layers of cancer biology, including the role of long non-coding RNA in triple-negative breast cancer.
Research Opportunities for Rotating Students
projects related to radiobiology and breast cancer