General Research InterestUnderstanding the molecular mechanisms of chemotherapy and radiation resistance by identifying and validating novel molecular biomarkers and by elucidating common chromatin remodeling mutations and their effects on DNA repair.
Research DescriptionThe overall goal of Dr Bell's research is to characterize mechanisms of radiation and chemotherapy resistance and sensitivity. Dr. Bell's team is particularly interested in the identification of novel predictive and prognostic molecular biomarkers, specifically biomarkers that can be exploited therapeutically. A fundamental understanding of chemoradiation resistance at the molecular and the whole-genome level will aid in elucidating the mechanisms of radiation resistance in multiple disease sites and will undoubtedly enhance the overall clinical outcomes of many cancer patients. Dr. Bell’s current field of research is focused on translational cancer research. In particular, her research areas are correlative analysis on clinical trial tissue including genomic, epigenomic, transcriptomic, and proteomic profiling in order to detect novel tumor biomarkers that correlate with treatment efficacy and survival. Dr. Bell’s team is currently performing whole genome profiling on tissue from multiple Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG) trials. Their current disease-site focus for the biomarker research is grade III and low-grade gliomas as well as prostate cancer. Dr. Bell is also focused on characterizing the effects of chromatin remodeling on DNA repair and chemoradiation resistance and sensitivity. This project will determine if common mutations in chromatin remodeling factors are dominant prognostic and/or predictive biomarkers by comprehensively analyzing the effects of these mutations on DNA repair capacities, characterizing the sensitivity of cells harboring these mutations to specific DNA-damaging therapy modalities, and evaluating the correlation of these mutations to clinical outcome data