Dr. Donna Albertson has been appointed a tenured professor of oral and maxillofacial Surgery and a member of the Bluestone Center for Clinical Research (BCCR) faculty and the NYU Oral Cancer Center (NYU OCC) faculty at the NYU College of Dentistry (NYUCD), it was announced jointly by Dr. Charles N. Bertolami, Herman Robert Fox Dean of NYUCD, and Dr. Brian L. Schmidt, director of the BCCR and the NYU OCC.
Dr. Albertson comes to NYU from the University of California San Francisco, where she was a professor in residence in the Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center and Department of Laboratory Medicine, and held the Evelyn and Mattie Anderson Endowed Chair in Cancer Research. Dr. Albertson will lead the oral cancer genomics research program.
Dr. Albertson’s research seeks to discover and validate biomarkers predictive of the clinical behavior of oral cancer and precancer. Her research at NYU OCC is being conducted in close collaboration with Dr. Schmidt. Drs. Albertson and Schmidt share an NIH research grant to develop assays for genomic markers in tumors to predict which oral cancers are likely to metastasize.
Dr. Albertson also investigates how changes in the composition of the oral bacterial community relate to oral cancer and precancer; Drs. Albertson and Schmidt are currently collecting samples from patients treated at the NYU OCC.
“Dr. Albertson brings an unparalleled depth of knowledge and novel molecular approaches to the field of oral cancer, which, to be honest, has lagged behind research on other types of cancer,” said Dr. Schmidt. “Relative to other cancers we have a poor understanding of the molecular and genomic mechanisms driving oral cancer. Dr. Albertson significantly adds to the intellectual muscle within NYU OCC. She and I have collaborated over the past decade. Having her at NYU will certainly increase our pace of discovery,” added Dr. Schmidt.
Dr. Albertson has authored over 120 peer-reviewed publications, a number of which report pioneering implementation of fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) for gene mapping and microarray technology for assaying gene copy number. Notably, both of these technologies are now in routine use in the clinical laboratory. She also holds 19 patents and has been consistently funded by the NIH over the past 15 years.
After receiving her PhD in biochemistry from Harvard University, Dr. Albertson held positions at the Medical Research Council Molecular Genetics Unit and the Laboratory of Molecular Biology, a world leader in molecular biology innovation, in Cambridge, United Kingdom, as well as at the Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory and the University of California San Francisco.