Research Associate Professor Edmund Mroz received a BA in Chemistry from Yale University and AM and PhD degrees in Physiology from Harvard University, followed by postdoctoral training at Harvard Medical School. As a faculty member in the Otolaryngology Department at Harvard, Dr. Mroz began research on head and neck cancer with Dr. James Rocco in 2003, and moved to Ohio State in 2015 when Dr. Rocco became Director of the Division of Head and Neck Oncologic Surgery here.
Dr. Mroz investigates tumor biomarkers, characteristics of a cancer patient's tumor that can help predict clinical outcome and ultimately direct a patient into appropriate clinical trials or help in choices among therapies. Biomarkers of particular interest include the tumor suppressor proteins p16 and p53, the Bcl-2 protein, which can prevent cancer cell death, and intra-tumor heterogeneity, differences among cancer cells within a tumor. He and Dr. Rocco recently developed a way to measure intra-tumor heterogeneity from DNA sequencing results and showed that high heterogeneity is related to worse outcome in head and neck cancer.
Besides their practical importance, biomarkers and the processes that lead to their expression in a tumor can help in understanding the ways that tumors develop and how they sometimes evade therapy. Dr. Mroz's laboratory research interests in the basic science underlying these biomarkers include the mechanisms that regulate the expression of p16, the role of Bcl-2 in resistance to therapy, the ways that differences arise among cancer cells within a tumor, and whether any of these processes can be exploited to develop new approaches for therapy.