Denise C. Connolly, PhD

Denise Connelly, PhD

Associate Professor

Director, Biosample Repository Facility

Research Program

Ovarian carcinomas in MISIIR-TAg mice
Highlight Fig, 2F & C
Cancer Research cover
Cancer Biology
Neoplasia cover, vol. 14, 6, June 2012
Detection of integrin avb3 expression in ovarian tumors
Combined FMT and MRI of ovarian tumors in mice.


Education and Training

Educational Background

  • PhD, Microbiology, Miami University, 1989
  • MS, Microbiology, Miami University, 1986
  • BA, Biology, Postdam College, 1984


  • Postdoctoral Training, Molecular Pathology, Johns Hopkins University, 1998
  • Postdoctoral Training, Cancer Biology, Mayo Clinic, 1995


  • American Association for Cancer Research

Honors & Awards

  • Sandy Rollman Ovarian Cancer Foundation Trailblazer Award
  • Society of Gynecologic Oncologists Basic Science Award
  • NIH Tumor Biology Trainee
  • Graduate Enrichment Fund Award
  • Orton K. Stark Award for Academic Excellence in Microbiology
  • New York State Board of Regents Scholarship
Research Profile

Research Program

Research Interests

  • Mechanisms of ovarian cancer dissemination
  • Targeted therapeutic strategies for treatment of ovarian cancer
  • Development of mouse models of ovarian cancer
  • Small animal imaging technologies

Lab Overview

The overall goal of our research is to discover ways to improve the treatment of epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC). Most cases of EOC are diagnosed at advanced stage when disease has spread beyond the ovary. From a clinical standpoint, EOC metastases and ascites production are perhaps the most significant cause of morbidity and mortality in patients because they can affect multiple vital organs in the abdominal cavity. Combined FMT and MRI of ovarian tumors in mice.Combined FMT and MRI of ovarian tumors in mice.At present, the cellular mechanisms regulating EOC metastasis remain only partially understood. Our laboratory is interested in defining molecular mechanisms that contribute to peritoneal dissemination of ovarian cancer cells to identify targets for therapeutic intervention in patients. Using a combination of in vitro and in vivo approaches, we hope to better understand EOC tumor biology at the cellular level as well as disease development and progression in animals. To facilitate our studies, we have developed a variety of transgenic and novel patient-derived mouse models of EOC. Several projects in our laboratory are focused on the cellular pathways involved in ovarian cancer cell migration, attachment and invasion with the ultimate goal of identifying therapeutic agents that inhibit the spread of ovarian cancer.

Lab Staff

Rashid Gabbasov BS

Graduate Student

Room: W310

Hui Zhang, MD

Visiting Scientist, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Renji Hospital, Shanghai, China

Room: W310

Ernest Boamah, PhD

Room: W310

Selected Publications

1. Sawyer T.W., Koevary J.W., Howard C.C., Austin O.J., Rice P.F.S., Hutchens G.V., Chambers S.K., Connolly D.C.,Barton J.K., Fluorescence and multiphoton imaging for tissue characterization of a model of postmenopausal ovarian cancer. Lasers Surg Med, 2020. PMC7572562.

Gabbasov R, Xiao F, Howe CG, Bickel LE, O'Brien SW, Benrubi D, Do TV, Zhou Y, Nicolas E, Cai KQ, Litwin S, Seo S, Golemis EA, Connolly DC. NEDD9 promotes oncogenic signaling, a stem/mesenchymal gene signature, and aggressive ovarian cancer growth in mice. Oncogene, 2018. PubMed

Tyner J.W., Tognon C.E., Bottomly D., Wilmot B., Kurtz S.E., Savage S.L., Long N., Schultz A.R., Traer E., Abel M., Agarwal A., Blucher A., Borate U., Bryant J., Burke R., Carlos A., Carpenter R., Carroll J., Chang B.H., Coblentz C., d'Almeida A., Cook R., Danilov A., Dao K.T., Degnin M., Devine D., Dibb J., Edwards D.K.t., Eide C.A., English I., Glover J., Henson R., Ho H., Jemal A., Johnson K., Johnson R., Junio B., Kaempf A., Leonard J., Lin C., Liu S.Q., Lo P., Loriaux M.M., Luty S., Macey T., MacManiman J., Martinez J., Mori M., Nelson D., Nichols C., Peters J., Ramsdill J., Rofelty A., Schuff R., Searles R., Segerdell E., Smith R.L., Spurgeon S.E., Sweeney T., Thapa A., Visser C., Wagner J., Watanabe-Smith K., Werth K., Wolf J., White L., Yates A., Zhang H., Cogle C.R., Collins R.H., Connolly D.C., Deininger M.W., Drusbosky L., Hourigan C.S., Jordan C.T., Kropf P., Lin T.L., Martinez M.E., Medeiros B.C., Pallapati R.R., Pollyea D.A., Swords R.T., Watts J.M., Weir S.J., Wiest D.L., Winters R.M., McWeeney S.K., Druker B.J., Functional genomic landscape of acute myeloid leukaemia. Nature. 562(7728): 526-531, 2018. PMC6280667. 43.070

Perales-Puchalt A., Svoronos N., Rutkowski M.R., Allegrezza M.J., Tesone A.J., Payne K.K., Wickramasinghe J., Nguyen J.M., O'Brien S.W., Gumireddy K., Huang Q., Cadungog M.G., Connolly D.C., Tchou J., Curiel T.J., Conejo-Garcia J.R., Follicle-stimulating hormone receptor is expressed by most ovarian cancer subtypes and is a safe and effective immunotherapeutic target. Clin Cancer Res. 23(2): 441-453, 2017. PMC5241180. 8.911

Gritsina G, Xiao F, O'Brien SW, Gabbasov R, Maglaty MA, Xu RH, Thapa RJ, Zhou Y, Nicolas E, Litwin S, Balachandran S, Sigal LJ, Huszar D, Connolly DC. Targeted Blockade of JAK/STAT3 Signaling Inhibits Ovarian Carcinoma Growth. Mol Cancer Ther 2015;14:1035-47. PubMed

Liu H, Xiao F, Serebriiskii IG, O'Brien SW, Maglaty MA, Astsaturov I, Litwin S, Martin LP, Proia DA, Golemis EA, Connolly DC. Network Analysis Identifies an HSP90-Central Hub Susceptible in Ovarian Cancer. Clinical Cancer Research 2013;Published OnlineFirst July 30, 2013; doi:10.1158/1078-0432. CCR-13-1115.abstract. PubMed

Do TV, Xiao F, Bickel LE, Klein-Szanto AJ, Pathak HB, Hua X, Howe C, O'Brien SW, Maglaty M, Ecsedy JA, Litwin S, Golemis EA, Schilder RJ, Godwin AK, Connolly DC. Aurora kinase A mediates epithelial ovarian cancer cell migration and adhesion. Oncogene 2014;33:539-49. PubMed

Hensley HH, Roder NA, O'Brien SW, Bickel LE, Xiao F, Litwin S, Connolly DC. Combined in vivo molecular and anatomic imaging for detection of ovarian carcinoma-associated protease activity and integrin expression in mice. Neoplasia 2012;14:451-62.  PubMed

Quinn BA, Xiao F, Bickel L, Martin L, Hua X, Klein-Szanto A, Connolly DC. Development of a syngeneic mouse model of epithelial ovarian cancer. J Ovarian Res 2010;3:24. PubMed

Quinn BA, Brake T, Hua X, Baxter-Jones K, Litwin S, Ellenson LH, Connolly DC. Induction of ovarian leiomyosarcomas in mice by conditional inactivation of Brca1 and p53. PLoS One 2009;4:e8404. PubMed... Expand

Additional Publications


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