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Malini Harigopal, MD

Professor Adjunct in Pathology; Director of Immunohistochemistry Lab, Pathology

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Malini Harigopal, MD

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Research Summary

Biomarker studies in breast cancer and pancreatic cancers using an objective and quantitative method of analysis (AQUA) in tissue microarrays.

I am recognized for my expertise in enumeration and characterization of circulating tumor cells (CTC’s) in the peripheral blood of patients with metastatic breast carcinomas using a simple blood-based assay. I have always been fascinated by the process of metastases in breast cancers. Enumeration of circulating tumor cells represents a new approach to prognosis, prediction, and response to therapy in patients with metastatic breast cancer. I have written several review articles and conducted workshops on CTC enumeration and characterization using Cell Search technology. Currently I am focusing my research efforts on analyzing circulating tumor DNA in cytology fluids which can help guide treament decisions.

I have also a special interest in HPV testing for cervical cancer detection. I was awarded the “The HPV Partnership Investigator Award”, for a period of 2 years by the American Society of Cytopathology. This award was instrumental in my pursuing cervical cancer research on HPV16 DNA Methyalation studies with significant publications in this field.

I am currently working on several breast cancer projects along with collaborators from Smillow cancer center.

1.Characterization of PD-L1 protein expression in relation to Recurrence Score values and Tumor infiltrating lymphocytes in ER+ early stage breast cancer. Scoring tumor infiltering lymphocytes (TILs) on Estrogen receptor positive breast cancers with Oncotype RS scores. I had previously studied 371 cases with RS scores looking at histologic subtypes and Recurrence Scores.

2. I am the PI on a novel study with a CT based-company CytoVeris.
In this study, Raman spectroscopy based optical imaging for margin assessment in breast cancers by helping distinguish benign from malignant tissue.This technology will help reduce the high rate of re-excisions due to positive margins land thus avoiding extra costs of surgery and remore importantly reducing patient anxiety.

3. I am a consultant for a start up company Onward Health using Artificial intelligence in digital breast pathology in particular triple negative breast cancers. In this research we deep learning models using pathologic features from H&E images will allow us to identify new prognostic biomarkers to score the cellular features and survival of TNBC patients.

Specialized Terms: Cancer biomarkers; Breast; Immunohistochemistry; C Triple negative breast cancers; prognostic markers.

Extensive Research Description

Biomarker studies in breast cancer and pancreatic cancers using an objective and quantitative method of analysis (AQUA) in tissue microarrays.


Research Interests

Breast; Breast Neoplasms; Immunohistochemistry; Pathology; Thyroid Gland; Microarray Analysis

Selected Publications