The multidisciplinary research focus of Betty Y.S. Kim, M.D., Ph.D., is the characterization of the microenvironmental cues that regulate the initiation, growth and progression of brain tumors.
Utilizing recent advances in nanotechnology and high-resolution molecular imaging, Dr. Kim's research group in her Cancer Nanotechnology and Tumor Immunology Laboratory aims to identify essential players within the tumor microenvironment that support tumorigenesis. The identification of cells and molecules necessary to sustain tumor growth is leading to the development of effective, targeted approaches toward individualized therapy.
- Tumor immunology and the microenvironment. The goal is to understand the mechanisms behind tumor immunosuppression and develop strategies to promote anti-tumor responses via modulating the tumor milieu.
- Nanotechnology for brain tumors. Dr. Kim's lab has a history of conducting leading-edge research in biomedical nanotechnology. Using different types of novel engineered nanomaterial constructs, the objective is to produce complex nanostructures that utilize the innate molecular processes to combat brain tumors.
- Intravital microscopy. Using high-resolution imaging, the group is creating sophisticated optical imaging platforms that allow labeling, imaging and tracking cancer stromal cell interactions in vivo. This approach helps identify the exact cellular and molecular processes involved in tumorigenesis.
- Personalized medicine. A key research focus is identification of novel immunological biomarkers that enable the development of personalized cancer immunotherapy. As a co-principal investigator of the central nervous system tumor biobank at Mayo Clinic in Florida, Dr. Kim's goal is to find unique tissue and blood biomarkers to predict a patient's response to new classes of targeted immunotherapy.
Significance to patient care
As a neurosurgeon specializing in primary and metastatic brain tumors, the ultimate goal of Dr. Kim's research is to provide more effective, selective and less toxic therapies to drastically improve the survival and quality of life for brain cancer patients.
Utilizing novel nanotechnology platforms and armed with a better understanding of how tumors function, new therapies are being developed that mimic and complement the human immune system to fight cancer. Ultimately, these treatment strategies will be tailored to an individual patient's genetic profile, disease severity and environmental factors for maximum clinical benefit.
- Scientific Advisory Council, Florida Center for Brain Tumor Research, 2013
- Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada Detweiler Travelling Fellowship, 2011
- Canadian Institutes of Health Research Brain Star Award, 2009
- K.G. McKenzie Basic Neuroscience Research Award, 2008
- Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada Graduate Study Award, 2006-2008