Analisa DiFeo, PhD, is The Norma C. and Albert I. Geller designated professor in ovarian cancer research and an assistant professor in the division of general medical sciences (oncology) at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. She completed her doctoral research in 2008 at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York where she played a central role in defining alternative splicing of the KLF6 gene family as a key regulator in ovarian cancer. Throughout her career, Dr. DiFeo has demonstrated a remarkable motivation and ability to make original and creative contributions to the field of cancer research. Dr. DiFeo is an expert in ovarian cancer with an extensive understanding of the current challenges faced in treating the disease.
Through the development of the Gynecologic Oncology Translational Research Program within the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center at Case Western Reserve University, Dr. DiFeo has built a well-integrated, state-of-the-art research program with a rich repository of patient-derived mouse ovarian cancer models that are highly useful for translational research and is perfectly poised to perform impactful translational research to detect ovarian cancer earlier and treat it more effectively. This program consists of a multidisciplinary group of dedicated translational research scientists, gynecologic oncologists, clinical fellows, pathologists and informatics scientists focused on understanding the molecular defects associated with ovarian cancer. The overall goal of Dr. DiFeo's laboratory is to identify novel biomarkers of ovarian cancer therapeutic response and generate novel targeted molecular therapies that can work alone or in conjunction with current treatment options to combat ovarian cancer. She has become an expert in the use of in vivo mouse models to investigate disease progression and evaluate novel targeted molecular therapies for ovarian cancer. Her dedication to research is evidenced by her accomplishments, which include >40 peer-reviewed publications in prestigious journals such as The Journal of Clinical Investigation, Nature Communications and Science Translational Medicine. In addition, Dr. DiFeo has been awarded several awards and has been able to secure numerous federal, foundation and industry grants including the OCRFA Liz Tilberis Independent Investigator Award, the AstraZeneca Scholar-in-Training award from the American Association of Cancer Research, two Department of Defense awards, two Mary Kay Foundation awards, a Lilly Research Award through Eli Lilly and Company, and R01 funding through the National Institute of Health. In addition, through her efforts in bringing awareness to ovarian cancer and developing a gynecological cancer translational research program in Northeast Ohio, she was chosen as Crain’s Cleveland Business 40 Under 40 honoree in 2014.
In addition, with chef Floyd Cardoz, executive chef and owner of Paowalla and Top Chef Masters winner, Dr. DiFeo and husband Dr. Goutham Narla started the Young Scientist Foundation to support young students interested in and committed to careers in biomedical research. Her accomplishments through commitment to uniting researchers in pursuit of a common mission along with her use of state-or-the-art techniques to address research objectives are clearly evidenced by the numerous grants and awards she has received. However, her passion for research is most apparent when training the next generation of aspiring scientists. What truly separates her from other investigators is her ability to teach all of the component skills she uses as a successful investigator to her trainees.