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.
Clinical and scientific interests include using genomic and proteomic approaches to identify women who are at high risk for breast cancer recurrence and who may benefit from treatment intensification. Interests also include molecularly based signatures to identifying women who are cured after breast conserving surgery and who may not require adjuvant radiation.
Radiation therapy for breast cancer- Interest includes identifying novel molecular targets for chemo‐ and radio-sensitization in women with triple‐negative or basal‐like breast cancer, including those molecules critical for maintaining breast cancer stem cells.
Radiation therapy for prostate cancer- Interest includes the identification of molecular targets relevant for the systemic progression and radiation sensitization of prostate cancer.
Leah Moubadder is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University with a Bachelor of Science in Individualized Studies comprising of three concentrations: Biochemistry/Organic Chemistry, Human Genetics and Pathology, and Liberal Studies. The undergraduate major that she personally formulated allowed her to understand and utilize biochemical methods and principles that pertain exclusively to diseases in the human body. She previously worked in the lab of a community based eye bank that provides the restoration of sight. During her time there she studied and evaluated human ocular tissue prior to transplantation. Leah also spent a significant amount of time volunteering at the Karmanos Cancer Center where she assisted cancer patients during their initial appointments by providing them resources and tools with the goal of alleviating the anxiety that arises when navigating an unfamiliar terrain. In the Speers lab her current focus is investigating kinases and their role in the radiosensitivity of triple negative breast cancer.
Eric Olsen is a junior at Brigham Young University, where he is pursuing a bachelor's degree in Neuroscience. As a research assistant in the Speers lab, he has worked on investigating the role of androgen receptor as a marker of radioresistance in triple-negative breast cancer, and is currently studying various genes indicated in the prognosis of triple-negative disease after radiation therapy. At BYU, he also is active in cancer research working in a cancer immunology lab where he studies potential targets for immunotherapy. Eric spent two years in Brazil as a missionary for the LDS church, and is fluent in Portuguese. He is a National Merit Scholar, and is involved in various volunteer organizations, including hospice care and elementary school student mentoring, both through BYU.
Cassie Ritter is a freshman at the University of Michigan in the Honors Program. She has volunteered in multiple labs at the university since her sophomore year of high school. Cassie is a graduate of Skyline High School class of 2017 and was part of her school’s Health and Medicine Magnet Program. She was also a member of three honors societies. She wishes to pursue an MD/PhD in the future and plans on double majoring in Philosophy and Biopsychology, Cognition and Neuroscience. In the Speers lab she is working on numerous projects including the role of kinases in radioresistance and ways to better understand the biology of local recurrences of breast cancer after radiation treatment.
Please contact Corey Speers, MD, PhD (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you are interested in working with the Speers Lab.