Personal Statement

I am Chief of Gynecologic Oncology at the University of New Mexico, the Judy Putman Dirks Endowed Professor, and Associate Director of Clinical Research at the UNM NCI designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. I am a trained physician scientist (K12) and have over 25 years of clinical trials experience. I have spent my career on collaborative clinical translational trial development serving on multiple GOG and now NRG Committees. I am the UNM site PI for NRG (voting member) and am the PI of the UNM minority-underserved NCORP grant. I am engaged in disparity working groups especially for cancer prevention and control and as NCORP PI also serve in the context of assessing and improving rational cancer care delivery across populations.

I am also the local site PI for a large number of GOG partners/NRG clinical trials as well as other pharmaceutical and investigator initiated trials with a focus in ovarian cancer therapeutics. I serve on the NCI Gynecologic Cancer Steering Committee and the NRG Ovarian Cancer and Uterine Cancer Committees. I am a member of the Department of Defense (DOD) ovarian programmatic committee. I participate as an ovarian cancer expert for the NCI Clinical Trial Strategic Planning Meetings and am on the expert panel for ASCO PARPi in Ovarian Cancer Guidelines.

My research focus and collaborative funding is in early translational trial designs for repurposing drugs for clinical benefit against ovarian cancer. Our collaborative work with basic and population scientists (Cook) is investigating R-ketorolac as a profound GTPase inhibitor that can impact ovarian cancer invasion and metastasis. I have completed a proof of concept window trial with commercially available racemic ketorolac which is an active Rho-family GTPase inhibitor, funded as a collaborator through a DOD Teal Award. Our work in humans demonstrated intraperitoneal pharmacokinetics and Rac1 and Cdc42 inhibition in cells retrieved from the peritoneal cavity. I continue to work with the group of basic (Wandinger-Ness and Hudson) and population science (Cook) team to bring R-ketorolac as a new drug in the fight against ovarian cancer. This team has worked together for over 5 years and is primed to continue this important work.

My role as the AD of Clinical Research and as the MU-NCORP PI will be utilized to continue building scientific, network and stakeholder collaborations, manage infrastructure and resources allocations and mentor and train the junior and mid-career faculty in clinical research with the goal of delivering clinical research that is improving cancer care and eliminating care disparities across the NM populations in a culturally sensitive way utilizing the scientific and personnel strengths within the UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center.


Medical School: University of Pennsylvania (1988)
Internship: Pennsylvania Hospital (1989), OB/GYN
Residency: Pennsylvania Hospital (1992), OB/GYN
Fellowship: University of Texas, Southwestern Medical Center (1996), Gynecologic Oncology | University of Texas, Southwestern Medical Center (1998), Molecular Biology of Cancer

Achievements & Awards

Endowment: The Judy Putman Dirks Endowed Professor in Gynecologic Cancer Care

Board Certification: American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Gynecologic Oncology (1999) | American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology (1997)