Member, Molecular Oncology Program
Director Cancer Center Shared Resources
GRU Cancer Center
Associate Professor of Pathology
Georgia Regents University
1410 Laney Walker Blvd., CN-2135
Augusta, GA 30912
Lesleyann Hawthorn, Ph.D. is the Director of the GRU Cancer Center Shared Resources and an Associate Professor in the Department of Pathology in the Medical College of Georgia at GRU. Dr. Hawthorn earned her Ph.D. (1995) from the University of London, UK and became an Associate Professor of Oncology (2008) at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, NY.
Dr. Hawthorn oversees the Shared Resources in the Cancer Center, which includes development of policy, evaluation of faculty needs, and assessment of new technologies and how they will impact research being conducted within the Cancer Center. She also conducts her own research with a recent primary focus on sequencing of triple negative breast cancers in African Americans. Although survival rates for breast cancer patients have increased exponentially over the last decade, this type of breast cancer continues to have a dismal survival rate of 14 percent. Triple negative breast cancers are more likely to be earlier onset, higher grade, are negative for the hormone receptors (ER/ PR) and do not over-express the epidermal growth factor receptor (HER2). In the absence of these receptors, there exist no therapies that specifically target molecules in the triple negative subtype of breast cancer and so older, cytotoxic chemotherapies remain the only treatment option available. The focus of this project is the identification of mutated genes that may form the basis of future targeted therapies.
Dr. Hawthorn also uses genome-wide approaches to profile changes in the genomic landscape of specific cancers. During the last several years, her focus has been on the integration of DNA-level changes such as copy number alterations and LOH events with gene expression alterations. These studies have been carried out on a series of tumors including colon, breast, lung, thyroid, glioblastomas, and pediatric Wilm’s tumors. She is also involved in an on-going collaboration with the Chernobyl tissue bank to profile pediatric, radiation-induced thyroid tumors resulting from the radioactive fallout in 1986, which resulted in over 4,000 cases of thyroid cancer in residents who were children at the time of exposure.