Julie Schwarz, MD, PhD is the Director of the Cancer Biology Division and an R01 funded investigator. Her laboratory research includes large scale studies using human tumor specimens to study the biologic pathways that regulate treatment response in cervical cancer. These studies have employed gene expression, micro-RNA expression and genomic analyses. She has identified alterations in expression of genes from the PI3K/Akt pathway that are associated with treatment response in cervical cancer. Most recently, she has identified genomic mutations in PIK3CA and PTEN that are associated with treatment response and glucose uptake. She is currently studying how these alterations influence cervical cancer glucose metabolism and how metabolic differences may influence the response to radiation and chemotherapy.
Dr. Schwarz performs clinical research that focuses on the use of post-therapy FDG-PET imaging as an indicator of response to chemo-radiation therapy. The majority of these studies focused on cervical cancer, which has no reliable molecular biomarker for the evaluation of treatment response. These studies were instrumental in establishing the 3 month post-therapy FDG-PET scan as a reliable tool for monitoring treatment response and integrating this strategy into routine practice for cervical cancer patients.