Benjamin Bitler, PhD


Ovarian cancer progression and chemoresistance, epigenetics


University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Dept. OB/GYN, Division of Reproductive Sciences


College biology and molecular biology would be helpful

Number of Openings


Program Objective

To determine molecular mechanisms of therapy resistance and tumor cell dissemination in ovarian cancer. ​


Ovarian cancer is the deadliest gynecologic cancer. There are several reasons for this: 1) lack of therapeutic options, 2) diagnosed at late stage, and 3) therapy resistance. The research program consists of addressing these critical problems.

PARP inhibitors are now FDA approved for ovarian cancer, but similar to other therapies ovarian tumors often develop resistance. We have several projects evaluating the role of epigenetics and Wnt signaling in promoting PARP inhibitor resistance. We have discovered a novel epigenetic modifier that is involved in conveying PARP inhibitor resistance.

A majority of ovarian cancers arise in the fallopian tube. Transformed fallopian tube epithelial cells disseminate from the fallopian tube to the ovary and abdominal cavity. Dissemination of transformed cells leads to a more difficult to treat disease. The process of dissemination is poorly understood and we are currently working to elucidate important genetic drivers of dissemination with the goal of identifying novel therapeutic targets.

To address these research areas we employ cutting-edge technology including: CRISPR/Cas9, proteomics, next generation sequencing, primary tumor culture, and patient-derived xenograft models.

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