Professor and director of neuropathology
Most recent post: State University of New York’s Upstate Medical Center
Christine Fuller, M.D., has built her career on characterizing tumors at the molecular level. She’s an expert in FISH, fluorescent in situ hybridization, a technique that allows her to mark genetic points of interest with visible tags, like pins in a map. Fuller also develops new pins — novel probes that mark altered genes in cancerous tissue.
By profiling tumors in this way, Fuller’s work can influence every aspect of translational research. On the science side, experimental probes and hypothesized targets are tested to see how reliably they signal a particular cancer. On the clinical side, telltale markers can be assessed for diagnostic and prognostic purposes; they may help to monitor treatment as well.
Fuller attended medical school and did her residency at the State University of New York’s Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse, N.Y. Fellowships in surgical pathology and neuropathology followed at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo. Next, she took a faculty post at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. There, she developed her comprehensive expertise in those brain tumors that grow in children and completed a soon-to-be-released book, titled “Atlas of Pediatric Brain Tumors.”
After a brief stint in private practice and a return to her alma mater in New York, Fuller, attracted by the potential of a bigger division in a larger university, came to VCU’s MCV Campus last fall. She has started pilot studies that will be the foundation for a funded research program, developed collaborations and has a vision for the future.
“We’d like to build a clinical pathology database of brain tumors,” she says. She’s excited to oversee a fellowship program in neuropathology.
And while she and her husband may have left their snowmobiling trails up north, they are ready to explore the roadways and waterways around Richmond by motorcycle and speedboat.
By Jill U. Adams, for the Dean’s Discovery Report