Our Ovarian Cancer Research Scientists Are Recognized for Their Excellence Around the World
The Ovarian Cancer Institute (OCI) is a 501© not-for-profit corporation dedicated to the discovery of a highly accurate diagnostic test for early-stage ovarian cancer and to the investigation of more efficacious and less toxic forms of treatment for this most dreadful disease. Our laboratories are located at the Georgia Institute of Technology, where our researchers have access to multiple departments including biochemistry, bio-informatics, nanotechnology, and computer science.
In addition to the diagnostic test, our researchers are developing machine-learning algorithms to predict, with startling accuracy, the optimum drug for an individual patient’s cancer, which is known as personalized or precision medicine. Another project involves the use of an RNA vector to deliver the chemotherapy drug directly to the cancer cell, allowing vast increases in dosage while greatly reducing or eliminating toxic side effects. One of our other researchers has developed a microfluidic device capable of capturing circulating cancer cells which will allow the diagnosis of a recurrent cancer to be made almost immediately. These cells can also be subjected to RNA sequencing which could be used to elucidate the correct treatment immediately. Research on this level is extremely expensive causing OCI to continue to explore novel modalities of funding.
About Ovarian Cancer
Over 22,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the United States each year. Most of these women will present in an advanced stage, requiring lengthy and complicated surgery followed by multiple rounds of extremely toxic chemotherapy. It is extremely unusual to discover this cancer in an early stage which is most unfortunate as the five-year survival for stage one patients exceeds 90% while the survival in an advanced stage is less than 20%. Symptoms are vague and misleading and frequently not in the pelvis, causing the patient to see multiple physicians before someone finally decides to do a pelvic examination and a pelvic ultrasound. The ovary is the only organ in the body that has its functioning cells open to the abdominal cavity. These cells detach themselves and implant on all abdominal organs including the liver an diaphragm They are particularly attracted to the surface on the small intestine causing hundreds of nodules the size of a pencil eraser which narrows to diameter of the bowel. This is a great tragedy, as the presenting symptoms of ovarian cancer are frequently cramping abdominal pain and bloating caused by a partial, intermittent small bowel obstruction. By this time the proves has been ongoing for many months which is why a highly accurate diagnostic test for early-stage ovarian cancer remains one of oncology’s most holy of grails!
Our Leadership Team
This innovative fight for ovarian cancer research can only be provided at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Still, we gear our work towards helping those across the United States and even the rest of the globe. Our first-class ovarian cancer research team includes leading cancer researcher Dr. Jeffrey Skolnick. They also reach out to experts in other fields, such as engineering, computer science, and nanotechnology, to see how they can apply their knowledge to the fight. Meet more of our team below:
Benedict B. Benigno, M.D.
Founder & CEO, Emeritus Director of Gynecologic Oncology, Northside Hospital, Atlanta, Georgia
A world-renowned gynecologic surgeon and oncologist who has spent his career treating women with ovarian cancer. In 1999, he founded the Ovarian Cancer Institute and serves as its CEO. Through his alliance with the Georgia Institute of Technology he has become a forerunner in ovarian cancer research. Dr. Benigno is the principal investigator in numerous clinical trials including the new PARP inhibitor drugs. He is dedicated to the discovery of a 100% accurate diagnostic test, as well as the development of more efficacious and less toxic ways of treating this dreadful disease.
He received his MD degree from the Georgetown University School of Medicine and completed his residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at St. Vincent’s Hospital and Medical Center in New York City. Dr. Benigno completed two fellowships in gynecologic oncology, one at the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta and the other at the M.D. Anderson Hospital and Tumor Institute in Houston.
Dr. Benigno is the founder and President of University Gynecologic Oncology and the Director of Gynecologic Oncology at Northside Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia. He is a member of many societies including the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists, the Felix Rutledge Society, and the American Society of Clinical Oncologists. Dr. Benigno is a clinical professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Emory University School of Medicine, the Morehouse School of Medicine, and Mercer University. He serves on the board of the Parker H. Petit Institute of Bioengineering and Bioscience at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Dr. Benigno has published numerous articles and textbook chapters and travels the world speaking on various aspects of gynecologic cancer. He is the author of the book, “The Ultimate Guide to Ovarian Cancer: Everything You Need to Know About Diagnosis, Treatment, and Research. This book is sold all over the world and is a great help to patients and their families. He was honored in 2002 with the Hero of Medicine Award for the Most Innovative Cancer Research in the State of Georgia. In 2014, Dr. Benigno was appointed to the ovarian cancer steering committee based in the National Institute of Health.
Kristin Krancer, MPH
She earned a Master of Public Health degree from the University of North Florida. She has dedicated her studies and career to improving health outcomes for specific people groups. Her other passions in the public health field include, reducing health disparities and improving access to healthy foods. During her college career, she graduated with honors and earned a spot on the President’s and Dean’s list numerous times.
She is honored to work with the Ovarian Cancer Institute as the Executive Director, after having worked for a national non-profit centered around addiction medicine. Additionally, Kristin served as a critical member of the emergency response team for the Florida Department of Health during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kristin teaches swim lessons in her spare time after being a competitive swimmer for over 20 years. She and her husband love to travel and reside in the mountains of North Carolina. She is a proud mother of two active boys.
Jeffery Skolnick, PhD, MPhil
Regents’ Professor, Mary and Maisie Gibson Chair & GRA Eminent Scholar in Computational Systems Biology, Director, Center for the Study of Systems Biology, & Professor, School of Biological Sciences Georgia Institute of Technology.
Fatih Sarioglu, PhD, MS
A. Fatih Sarioglu received the B.Sc. degree from Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey in 2003, and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Stanford University in 2005 and 2010, respectively, all in Electrical Engineering.
Dr. Sarioglu worked as a postdoctoral research associate at the Center for Nanoscale Science and Engineering at Stanford University from 2010 to 2012. From 2012-2014, he was a research fellow at the Center for Engineering in Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. In October 2014, he joined the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology as an assistant professor.
Dr. Sarioglu's research interests are at the interface of nano-/micro-engineering and biomedicine. He is particularly interested in developing N/MEMS-based technologies for biomedical applications.
Nick Housley, PhD, PT, DPT
Dr. Housley is a classically trained neuroscientist with a PhD focused on sensorimotor neurophysiology, a Doctor of Physical Therapy specialty training treating neurologic disorders, a former professional cyclist, and a traumatic brain injury survivor.
Dr. Housley is also Fellow in the Sensorimotor Integration Lab & Integrated Cancer Research Center at Georgia Tech. In the broadest terms, my interests center on how the nervous system, cancer, and its treatment interact in mammalian systems. My research interests rest on my recent discoveries that securely establish the existence of reciprocal interactions between cancer, cancer treatment and the nervous system. In addition, my other area of study centers on how the nervous and musculoskeletal systems interact to encode sensorimotor information and how integration in the mammalian spinal cord results in physiologically relevant movement. Using in vivo electrophysiological methods, I investigate synaptic function and firing behavior of isolated neurons and population responses. I am actively examining how encoding and decoding behavior of neuronal circuits can be challenged and how they adapt to a variety of pathological states.
Board of Directors
Chairman of the Board & Teal Cup Golf Tournament Chairman
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