Ronny Drapkin, MD, PhD
Director, Ovarian Cancer Research Center
Director Gynecologic Cancer Research, Basser Center for BRCA
Associate Professor of Pathology in Obstetrics and Gynecology
Dr. Drapkin is a physician-scientist trained in anatomic pathology and biochemistry and the Director of the Penn Ovarian Cancer Research Center (Penn OCRC). The goal of the OCRC is to translate important biological principles discovered in the laboratory into clinically useful diagnostic and therapeutic tools. He achieves this goal through a multidisciplinary team approach that spans research areas in immunology and immunotherapy, vascular biology, epigenetics, genomics, early detection methods, and novel experimental model systems. His own research activities focus on understanding the pathogenesis and genetic alterations that underlie the development of ovarian cancer. Recent work from his group and others has established that the fallopian tube (FT) secretory cell is the likely cell-of-origin for a majority of high-grade serous ovarian carcinomas, the most common subtype of this disease. This new paradigm for serous tumorigenesis has led them to develop a number of novel model systems, including fallopian tube cell line models, genetically engineered mouse models, and a battery of patient-derived tumor xenografts that maintain their fidelity to the original patient tumors. By integrating findings from genomic studies into these model systems, he aims to define key factors that can lead to new therapeutic approaches and methods of early detection. His lab is actively funded by the NIH, DOD, and various Foundations.