Mary Mullen, MD

Bio

Mary MullenI received my B.S. in Biology from the University of Notre Dame and then my MD from Saint Louis University School of Medicine. I completed my clinical residency training in Obstetrics and Gynecology followed by fellowship training in Gynecologic Oncology at Washington University School of Medicine. I am now an Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology in the Division of Gynecologic Oncology and an Associate Member of Siteman Cancer Center. I worked in Dr. Katherine Fuh’s lab for a year during followship studying the role of AXL, a receptor tyrosine kinase, in DNA damage. These findings are being translated into a clinical trial to treat ovarian cancer patients. Additionally, I am actively involved in the development of novel therapeutics and clinical trials as a New Investigator of the GOG Foundation and NRG Oncology. My current research is funded by the Reproductive Scientist Development Program as well as the Division of Physician-Scientists through the Dean’s Scholar’s Award.

Research

My immediate career goal is to identify a biomarker predictive of tumor sensitivity to DNA damaging agents and to identify kinases and deubiquitinases involved in ovarian cancer resistance to DNA damaging agents. My previous work in the Fuh lab demonstrated that inhibiting the tyrosine kinase AXL improved ovarian cancer sensitivity to DNA damaging agents. We demonstrated that this was due to an increase in DNA damage, replication stress, and decreased homologous recombination. Our data collectively provides strong support to the idea that inhibiting specific kinases can enhance ovarian cancer cell sensitivity to traditional chemotherapy and PARP inhibitors. Our lab is also focused on utilizing RAD51, a protein involved in homologous recombination, to create a functional biomarker for homologous recombination deficiencies. Ultimately, we hope to use this information to develop personalized treatment strategies for ovarian cancer which will minimize toxicity and optimize efficacy.

Recent publications

  1. Mullen M, Lomonosova E, Toboni M, Oplt A, Cybulla E, Blachut B, Peinan Zhao, Noia H, Wilke D, Rankin E, Kuroki L, Hagemann A, Hagemann I, McCourt C, Thaker P, Mutch D, Powell M, Mosammaparast N, Vindigni A, Fuh K. GAS6/AXL inhibition enhances ovarian cancer sensitivity to chemotherapy and PARP inhibition through increased DNA damage and enhanced replication stress. Accepted Molecular Cancer Research Sept 2021.
  2. Fuh K, Mullen M, Blachut B, Stover E, Konstantinopoulos P, Liu J, Matulonis U, Khabele D, Mosammaparast N, Vindigni A. Homologous Recombination Deficiency Real-Time Clinical Assays, Ready or Not?. Gynecologic Oncology. Gynecologic Oncology 2020 Dec;159(3):877-886. PMID: 32967790.
  3. Mullen M, Lomonosova E, Toboni M, Noia H, Wilke D, Oplt A, Guo L, Kuroki L, Hagemann A, McCourt C, Thaker P, Mutch D, Powell M, Fuh K. Effect on response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy in high-grade serous ovarian cancer by inhibiting the GAS6/AXL pathway and inducing homologous recombination deficiency. Journal of Clinical Oncology. 2020 May: 38 (suppl; abstr 6080).
  4. Mullen M, Mutch D. Endometrial tumor immune response: a potential biomarker predictive of response to immunotherapy. Clinical Cancer Research 2019 Apr;25(8):2366-68.
  5. Mullen M, Kuroki L, Thaker P. Novel treatment options in platinum-sensitive recurrent ovarian cancer: A review. Gynecologic Oncology 2019 Feb;152(20):416-425. PMID: 30409489.
  6. Palisoul M, Mullen M, Feldman R, Thaker P. Identification of molecular targets in vulvar cancers. Gynecologic Oncology 2017 Aug; 146(2):305-313. PMID: 28536037.