Understanding and Treating
About the speaker: Dr. Carrie Shawber is an Assistant Professor of Reproductive Sciences in Obstetrics/Gynecology and Surgery at Columbia University Medical College. Her research focuses on the roles of Notch, beta-adrenergic and vascular endothelial growth factor signaling in physiological and pathological lymphatic development and maintenance. The lymphatic system is critical for fluid uptake, immune surveillance and fat absorption in the intestines. Abnormal lymphatic development is implicated in lymphatic malformations, lymphedema, fat disorders, fetal demise due to chromosomal abnormalities, tumor metastasis and inflammatory disorders. The fundamental thesis of the Shawber lab is that by understanding the signaling pathways that govern proper lymphatic vessel formation and maintenance in the fetus, babies and adults, we can develop ways to diagnosis, monitor and treat lymphatic disorders and diseases. Dr. Shawber received her BS and PhD in Molecular Biology from the University of California Los Angeles. After her PhD, she was postdoctoral researcher scientist in cancer genetics and epigenetics at Weill Cornell Medical College, followed by postdoctoral fellowship in vascular biology with Dr. Jan Kitajewski at Columbia University. Dr. Shawber’s research is funded by the National Institutes of Health, Irving Institute for Clinical and Translational Research. She is a recipient of Paul Boyer Fellowship, a Department of Defense Breast Cancer Postdoctoral Fellowship and a National Institutes of Health K01 Career Development Award. Dr. June K. Wu is a pediatric plastic surgeon with a key interest and expertise the field of vascular anomalies. She is also the co-Director of the Vascular Anomalies Group at Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons. In that capacity, she has extensive experience in the medical and surgical management of patients with lymphatic malformations (LMs). In the laboratory, she has studied infantile hemangiomas, a vascular tumor. From her experience working with hemangioma tissues and cells, she has set up a collaboration with Dr. Shawber to isolate and characterize cells from LM-, lymphedema and chylothorax patients. The goal of Dr. Wu’s research program is to understand mechanisms that regulate pathogenesis of vascular anomalies and to perform pre-clinical and clinical trials for new therapeutics, in collaboration with Dr. Shawber. Dr. Wu received her A.B. in Chemistry from Princeton University, M.D. at the College of Physicians & Surgeons. After her training in plastic surgery at Columbia and Montefiore Medical Center, she completed 2 fellowships—one in craniofacial surgery and one in Vascular Anomalies at Children’s Hospital Boston under Dr. John Mulliken. She has been on the faculty at the College of Physicians and Surgeons. She has received multiple research awards, including a just-completed K08 Career Development Award.