Pancreatobiliary Pathology Research

Emory University - Winship Cancer Institute: Collaborators and Pancreatobiliary Team

Emory Pancreatobiliary Research Team

N. Volkan Adsay, MD

Professor, Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine
Director, Anatomic Pathology, Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine
Vice-Chair, Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine

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Faculty Listing - Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, Emory University

Research Interests -

1) Pancreas cancer is the 4th leading cause of cancer deaths in the US. Currently, more Americans die of pancreas cancer than of prostate cancer, and it is estimated that in a few years, it will surpass breast cancer too in this regard. Its 5-year survival is < 5%. The reasons for the dismal prognosis of pancreas cancer are largely unraveled. I was a part of an international group of researchers who characterized the early steps of cancer formation in this organ, pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PanINs). Later, we (my collaborators and I) have also shown that a distinct tumor type, intraductal papillary mucionous neoplasms, represent a different pathway of cancer formation in the pancreas, independent of PanINs. Our research in the past few years has mostly focused in this distinct pathway. Separately, we have identified other types of cancers that occur in the pancreas that are biologically and prognostically distinct from that of ordinary pancreas cancer, for example, colloid cancers, and the mechanisms that lead these tumors to behave far more favorably is likely to be important in solving the puzzles of carcinogenesis (cancer formation). We continue to investigate these cancers from both molecular, clinical and morphologic perspectives.

2) Ampulla of Vater is the region where pancreas and bile ducts adjoin the intestines. This is a small but complex area and the cancers of this region are poorly characterized, partly due to imprecise definition of this complex region. There has been a general impression that the prognosis of the cancers of the ampulla may somehow be better than those of the pancreas or bile ducts, but this impression had not been yet substantiated with careful pathologic analysis. Along with collaborators from University of Pittsburgh as well as University of California at San Francisco, we performed the most detailed analysis of ampullary cancers based on the largest series to date, and have already discovered many facets of these cancers not previously recognized. Our recent studies have confirmed that ampullary cancers do indeed have a better prognosis than pancreas cancers overall, and we have also elucidated some of the reasons for this favorable outcome.

3) Gallbladder cancer is relatively less common than pancreas cancer in the US, but carries a similarly poor prognosis. Due to its relative rarity and the disinterest in this tumor type, gallbladder cancer is also poorly characterized pathologically. In Chile, gallbladder cancer is common and is the leading cause of cancer deaths among adult women. In our collaboration with a group from Temuco, Chile, we performed a detailed pathologic analysis of more than 600 primary invasive GB carcinomas, a huge undertaking, comprising the largest number of patients to date. In our ongoing studies, we defined the clinicopathologic characteristics of various types of gallbladder carcinomas such as mucinous and squamous cancers. Most importantly, we identified a distinct pathway of early cancer formation in this organ that we termed intracholecystic papillary tubular neoplasms, and we have made significant inroads into the characterization of these tumors, which will have major impact in our understanding of gallbladder carcinogenesis.

Bassel El-Rayes, MD -

Associate Professor of Hematology and Medical Oncology
Director, GI Oncology Program
Associate Cancer Center Director for Clinical Research

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Faculty Listing - Hematology and Medical Oncology

Research Interests - My research is on translational projects related to gastrointestinal malignancies, specifically pancreatic and colorectal cancer, to bring observations derived from in vitro models of cancer cell growth to the clinic. I closely collaborate with basic scientists in studies that target the HSP90, NF-kB cell signaling pathways such as HDAC-6 in pancreatic cancer cells.

Michael Goodman, MD -

Associate Professor
School of Public Health, Epidemiology
Emory University School of Medicine

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Interventional Radiology
Clinical Division - Interventional Radiology & Image Guided Medicine

Research Interests - Michael Goodman, MD MPH is an Associate Professor at the Department of Epidemiology, Emory University Rollins School of Public Health. He is an epidemiologist and a board-certified licensed physician. Originally from Lithuania, Dr. Goodman received his MD degree from the Kaunas Medical Academy in 1984. He received his MPH degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health in 1995. In addition to his work as an epidemiologist, Dr. Goodman has nearly 20 years of experience as a practicing physician both in his native Lithuania and in the United States.

Dr. Goodman’s current research interests include cancer epidemiology with specific focus on the roles of diet, inflammation and oxidative stress as determinants of colorectal and prostate cancer risk and prognosis. Dr. Goodman has experience in all aspects of epidemiologic research including design, implementation, and data analysis of both observational and experimental studies. He serves as principal investigator or a site investigator of several federally funded on-going studies. In addition to his research activities, Dr. Goodman is the Medical Director of the Georgia Center for Cancer Statistics which is responsible for operating the statewide cancer registry.

Hyun S. "Kevin" Kim, MD, FSIR -

Associate Professor of Radiology, Hematology & Medical Oncology and Surgery
Director of Interventional Radiology and Image-Guided Medicine
Interventional Oncology
Winship Cancer Institute
Emory Transplant Center

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School of Public Health Faculty Page

Research Interests - Dr. Kim specializes in image-guided interventional oncology. With more than 250 peer-reviewed manuscripts and scientific abstracts, His research interests and publications have centered on investigating more effective and less invasive novel therapies and image-guided therapies in the fields of Image-guided therapies in Interventional Oncology. More specifically, percutaneous (biopsies and ablations) and transcatheter therapies (chemoembolization, embolization and Y90) for primary and metastatic liver cancer, MRI-guided interventions and high intensity focused ultrasound ablations are of his interests. Translational research with development of new novel minimally invasive technologies with high impact in the clinical arena is the focus of his career.

David A. Kooby, MD -

Associate Professor of Surgery
Director of Surgical Oncology, Emory - Saint Joseph's Hospital
Director of Minimally Invasive Gastrointestinal Surgical Oncology
Emory University School of Medicine
Winship Cancer Institute

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Winship Cancer Center - Find a Physician
Clinical Division - Interventional Radiology & Image Guided Medicine
Department of Surgery - Faculty Listing

Research Interests - My research focuses on techniques and outcomes related to pancreatic and biliary surgery. I participate in a multi center research group of pancreatic surgeons around the Country asking the questions that will improve outcomes for patient who undergo pancreatic surgery and for those with pancreatic neoplasms. I am an international leader and authority on minimally invasive pancreatic surgery.

Jerome C. Landry, MD, MBA -

Emory University
Winship Cancer Institute
Department of Radiation Oncology

Chief of Service
Grady Memorial Hospital
Edward C. Loughlin Radiation Oncology Center

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Radiation Oncology - Faculty Listing

Research Interests - Strategies to identify the genes and mechanisms involved in mediating response following replication arrest:
1) We completed a loss of function genetic screen using RNA interference (RNAi) in human pancreatic cancer cells to identify genes that mediate sensitization or resistance to gemcitabine—a nucleoside analogue that interferes with DNA replication. We identified 56 RSR genes, including well-characterized RSR proteins ATR, CHK1, WEE1, and RAD9A. Forty-four of the genes have not previously been characterized in DNA replication or DNA damage responses. Completion of these aims will provide new insights into how the RSR maintains genome integrity, elucidate novel targets for the treatment of pancreatic cancer, and identify subsets of pancreatic cancer patients that may benefit from gemcitabine chemotherapy... Read more about Dr. Landry's research

Shishir K. Maithel, MD, FACS -

Assistant Professor of Surgery
Winship Cancer Institute - Emory University
Department of Surgery - Division of Surgical Oncology
Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Surgery

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Winship Cancer Center: Find a Physician
Department of Surgery Directory

Research Interests - My research focus has been to identify molecular biomarkers for GI and HPB malignancy that may help to personalize cancer therapy. Over the past 4 years, I was integral to assembling a multi-disciplinary research team consisting of medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, pathologists, the scientists in the Winship Core and bioinformatics, and our team in Surgical Oncology. I wrote and am currently Principal Investigator for a Phase II prospective trial that is currently accruing patients who undergo resection of pancreas cancer. Patients enrolled in this trial receive a novel chemotherapy regimen after surgery and their tumors are tested for the expression pattern of a specific molecular biomarker. I am also integrally involved in multiple multi-institutional research collaborations. Our Division of Surgical Oncology is a leading member of a pancreas cancer research consortium consisting of investigators from Vanderbilt, University of Louisville, University of North Carolina, University of Wisconsin, University of Cincinnati, and Northwestern.

Juan M. Sarmiento, MD, FACS -

Associate Professor of Surgery
Director of Surgical Oncology, Emory - Saint Joseph's Hospital
Director of Minimally Invasive Gastrointestinal Surgical Oncology
Emory University School of Medicine Winship Cancer Institute

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Emory HealthCare - Physician Listing
Department of Surgery - Faculty Listing
Georgia Cancer - Physician Listing
Winship Cancer Center - Find a Physician

Research Interests -
- Gallbladder cancer presentation and epidemiology.
- Gallbladder premalignant lesions.
- Evlauation of MRI on liver and pancreas lesions
- Presentation of bile duct injuries
- Pancreatic cancer - Perioperative results on laparoscopic major liver resection
- Application of process improvements tools on liver resection
- Perioperative results of Whipple procedure
- Management of neuroendocrine metastases to the liver
- Coagulation changes after liver resection

Field F. Willingham, MD, MPH -

Director of Endoscopy
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Digestive Diseases
Emory University Healthcare

Research Interests - I am the Director of Endoscopy for Emory Healthcare. I see and treat patients with pancreatic and biliary diseases of all types, including benign and malignant pancreatic tumors, pancreatitis, pancreatic insufficiency, pancreatic pseudocysts and fluid collections, and pancreatic duct injuries. Endoscopic ultrasound and ERCP are the two primary endoscopic procedures that are used to diagnose, stage, and treat pancreatic and biliary conditions. Emory is a national referral center for Advanced Therapeutic Endoscopy for pancreaticobiliary indications. My group is currently publishing our work improving the diagnosis of cholangiocarcinoma. I conduct translational and clinical trial research, actively investigating the molecular diagnosis of biliary strictures and currently enrolling patients in clinical studies of pancreatic insufficiency. .

Kevin E. Woods, MD, MPH -

Director of Advanced Endoscopic Imaging, Informatics and Innovation
Assistant Professor of Medicine Digestive Diseases - Interventional Endoscopy

Research Interests - Kevin E. Woods, M.D., M.P.H. is Assistant Professor of Medicine at Emory University School of Medicine. Dr. Woods is a gastroenterolgist that specializes in advanced endoscopic procedures. Dr. Woods is trained in all diagnostic and therapeutic endoscopic procedures. Many procedures that Dr. Woods performs are not available in many gastroenterology practices such as endoscopic mucosal resection (EMR), endoscopic submucosal dissection (ESD), enteral stenting, endoscopic ultrasound (EUS), endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), single balloon assisted small bowel enteroscopy, bariatric endoscopy, endoscopic suturing and optical endomicroscopy (OE).

Dr. Woods' areas of interest are: Advanced Imaging of the Pancreas; Pancreatic massess; Pancretic cysts; Neuroendocrine tumors; Autoimmune pancreatitis; Acute pancreatitis; and Chronic pancreatitis.

David S. Yu, MD, PhD -

Associate Professor of Surgery
Director of Surgical Oncology, Emory - Saint Joseph's Hospital

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Radiation Oncology - Faculty Listing

Research Interests - Dr. Yu is actively engaged in both clinical and basic science research. The ultimate goal of Dr. Yu's work is to translate insights gained from his interactions with his patients and the laboratory to innovative therapies to improve the quality of care for patients with cancer. Dr. Yu’s research interests are in understanding how cells respond to replication stress and how we can utilize this knowledge for improvements in cancer diagnosis and treatment.


Michelle D. Reid, MD, MS -

Associate Professor
Pathology & Laboratory Medicine

Research Interests - Cytopathology of the pancreas, thyroid and urine
My current interests include the use of molecular markers in the cytologic diagnosis and prognosis of pancreatic and thyroid tumors, as well as the use of fluorescence in situ hybridization in the diagnosis of urothelial carcinoma in urine.

Momin T. Siddiqui, MD, FIAC -

Professor of Pathology
Director and Chief of Cytopathology, Emory University Hospitals

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Faculty Profile - Pathology & Laboratory Medicine

Research Interests - My current interests include usage of molecular markers and immunohistochemical stains in Fine needle aspiration specimens for further characterization of neoplastic pancreatic lesions. In addition I am currently participating with the Papanicolaou Society of Cytopathology for formulating the diagnostic nomenclature for pancreatic lesions based on cytopathologic specimens.