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Research Partners

Dr. Rebecca Arend

Rebecca Arend, MD is Assistant Professor of Gynecologic Oncology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and an Associate Scientist at the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center Experimental Therapeutics Program. She completed her undergraduate degree and her residency at Columbia Presbyterian in New York, NY and completed her fellowship at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Her research focus as a Gynecologic Oncology fellow was in chemoresistance in ovarian cancer, cancer stem cells, specifically the Wnt pathway and molecularly targeted therapy. Prior to fellowship, she did research in hormonal and molecular pathways associated with uterine carcinosarcoma while she was in medical school at Albert Einstein in Susan Horwitz’s lab. Before medical school she taught AP Biology at Washington Irving High School in NYC for 4 years.

While at UAB, she has worked under the mentorship of Dr. Donald Buchsbaum, a senior scientist in the UAB Cancer Center, and Drs. Michael Straughn, Ronald Alvarez, and Warner Huh – all translational scientists. During her fellowship in Gyn Oncology, she received four grants that supported her research and an AAOGF/ABOG Young Investigator Fellowship grant that currently supports her as an Assistant Professor and Principal Investigator of her own lab with 75% protected research time. She has a full-time research assistant, lab manager, Post-Doctoral Fellow, Gynecologic Oncology fellow, and a graduate student in her lab. She has collaborations with multiple drug companies and the Alabama Southern Research Institute, which has a Drug Discovery Program and is 3 city blocks from UAB.

During her first two years on faculty, she was awarded the American Cancer Society’s Institutional Research Grant for junior faculty, UAB’s Center for Clinical and Translational Science Multidisciplinary Partner Network Pilot program grant, UAB’s Personalized Medicine Initiative grant, two Foundation for Women’s Cancer (FWC) grants, and the 2017 FWC’s Excellence in Ovarian Cancer Research Prize. She also has a strong collaboration with Dr. Sara Cooper and Dr. Rick Meyers at HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology (Huntsville, AL) in addition to Dr. Troy Randall PhD (immunologist) and Dr. Michael Birrer (current UAB Cancer Center Director). Her on-going projects include personalized medicine, targeting the Wnt pathway, and immunotherapy in ovarian cancer patients.

She is mentoring her third Gynecologic Oncology fellow with Dr. Buchsbaum, Dr. Straughn, Dr. Troy Randal, Dr. Lyse Norian, and Dr. Michael Birrer in understanding the effect of the Wnt pathway on immune response in ovarian tumor cells. She is investigating how multiple factors effect immune response and could enhance a patient’s response to immunotherapy including epigenetics and the Wnt pathway with an effort to discover better biomarkers to guide therapeutic choices. In 2015, she received two grants to fund research on combining epigenetic therapy with immunotherapy.

In addition, she is getting her Master’s degree (MSPH) in Clinical and Translational Research and serves as the chair of UAB’s Tissue Committee and as the co-chair of the Gynecologic Oncology Disease Oriented Working Group (DOWG) and the Precision Oncology Working Group (POWG).

Dr. Arend’s clinical interests include clinical trials and translational research involving targeted therapy and immunotherapy. She is a member of multiple professional societies and committees both regionally and nationally. She has authored numerous publications and been highly recognized for outstanding presentations and abstracts.

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