Dr Heather Cunliffe
|Department||Department of Pathology (DSM)|
|Research summary||Translational biomarker discovery in breast and ovarian cancer|
The focus of Dr Cunliffe's research is the discovery and validation of biomarkers that will impact therapeutic decision-making and improve treatment outcomes for breast cancer and ovarian cancer patients. Her laboratory leverages genomic, biochemical, and cell-biologic approaches to define and target the pathobiology driving malignant progression in treatment-refractory tumour contexts.
Current areas of interest include:
- Therapeutic targeting in triple negative breast cancer
- Defining mechanisms of endocrine resistance
- The molecular underpinnings of Inflammatory breast cancer
- Recalcitrant subtypes of ovarian cancer including small cell tumours
- Mechanisms of inherent/acquired chemoresistance in epithelial ovarian cancer
Dr Cunliffe also has an interest and significant expertise in biospecimen science to empower genomics-enabled medicine.
Dr Cunliffe completed her undergraduate training at Victoria University of Wellington and received her PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Otago. She then trained as a Postdoctoral Fellow from 1999–2004 in the Cancer Genetics Branch of the National Human Genome Research Institute, at the National Institutes of Health, in Bethesda, MD, USA. In 2004, Dr Cunliffe joined the research faculty at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), a not-for-profit biomedical research institute in Phoenix Arizona, where she headed the Breast and Ovarian Cancer Research Unit for 10 years prior to returning to the University of Otago.
- Specialty Chief Editor, Frontiers in Cancer Genetics
- Honorary Lifetime Member, Board of Directors, Anne Rita Monahan Foundation
- Founding Board Member, Ovarian Cancer Alliance of Arizona
Hoppe, R., Fan, P., Büttner, F., Winter, S., Tyagi, A. K., Cunliffe, H., … Brauch, H. (2016). Profiles of miRNAs matched to biology in aromatase inhibitor resistant breast cancer. Oncotarget, 7(44), 71235-71254. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.12103
Witkowski, L., Goudie, C., Ramos, P., Boshari, T., Brunet, J.-S., Karnezis, A. N., … Cunliffe, H., … Foulkes, W. D. (2016). The influence of clinical and genetic factors on patient outcome in small cell carcinoma of the ovary, hypercalcemic type. Gynecologic Oncology, 141, 454-460. doi: 10.1016/j.ygyno.2016.03.013
Necela, B. M., Crozier, J. A., Andorfer, C. A., Lewis-Tuffin, L., Kachergus, J. M., Geiger, X. J., … Cunliffe, H. E., … Perez, E. A. (2015). Folate receptor-α (FOLR1) expression and function in triple negative tumors. PLoS ONE, 10(3), e0122209. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0122209
Barrett, M. T., Anderson, K. S., Lenkiewicz, E., Andreozzi, M., Cunliffe, H. E., Klassen, C. L., … Pockaj, B. A. (2015). Genomic amplification of 9p24.1 targeting JAK2, PD-L1, and PD-L2 is enriched in high-risk triple negative breast cancer. Oncotarget, 6(28). doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.4494
Fan, P., Cunliffe, H. E., Maximov, P. Y., Agboke, F. A., McDaniel, R. E., Zou, X., … Jordan, V. C. (2015). Integration of downstream signals of insulin-like growth factor-1 receptor by endoplasmic reticulum stress for estrogen-induced growth or apoptosis in breast cancer cells. Molecular Cancer Research, 13(10), 1367-1376. doi: 10.1158/1541-7786.mcr-14-0494