- Research Assistant Professor, University of Notre Dame
- Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Notre Dame
- Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Hawaii Cancer Center
- Ph.D. in Medicinal Chemistry, University of Illinois - Chicago
- B.S. in Chemistry and Biology, Chicago State University
- NIH-NCI Mentored Research Scientist Development Award
- Indiana CTSI Postdoc Challenge Award
- University of Notre Dame Dean's Diversity Fellowship
- Charles Wesley Petranek Scholarship
- University of Illinois at Chicago Abraham Lincoln Fellowship
The overall objective of my research is to determine the influence of host factors, including obesity, on the metastatic success of ovarian cancer (OvCa). OvCa is the deadliest gynecological cancer among U.S. women due to women presenting with advanced stage disease, with widely disseminated intraperitoneal metastasis, at diagnosis. My main project focuses on investigating the influence of maternal obesity on the metastatic success of OvCa in next generation offspring. Obesity has become a worldwide epidemic with increased prevalence in children. Maternal obesity often results in an increased risk of offspring developing obesity and obesity-linked diseases. The excessive intake of nutrients may cause epigenetic changes, consequently changing the expression of critical genes associated with physiological and pathological processes. Using established pre-clinical mouse models of diet-induced obesity and intraperitoneal metastasis, an integrated approach encompassing a variety of epigenetic, genetic, biophysical and micro-anatomical methods is used to investigate the mechanistic link between maternal obesity and OvCa metastasis in offspring.
Another project involves the histological analysis of human ovarian tumor tissues including granulosa cell tumors. The tumor tissues will be divided into cohorts according to body mass index (BMI) [low BMI (<30) and high BMI (>30)] to compare expression levels of obesity related genes and genes involved in proliferation and migration between the cohorts. The expected results will advance our understanding of the influence of host factors including obesity on ovarian cancer metastasis. An additional project uses an OvCa intraperitoneal metastasis model utilizing mesothelin wild type and knockout mice to explore the role of mesothelin expression, a glycoprotein overexpressed in OvCa, on the susceptibility of OvCa cells to adhere to the mesothelium of organs in the peritoneal cavity.
- Liu, Y. Y.; Yang, J.; Shi, Z. G.; Tan, X. J.; Jin, N.; O'Brien, C.; Ott, C.; Grisoli, A.; Lee, E.; Volk, K.; Conroy, M.; Franz, E.; Bryant, A.; Campbell, L.; Crowley, B.; Grisoli, S.; Alexandrou, A. T.; Li, C. Y.; Harper, E. I.; Asem, M.; Johnson, J.; Leonard, A.; Santanello, K.; Klein, A.; Wang, Q. F.; Zhang, S. Y.; Hilliard, T. S. and Stack, M. S. "In Vivo Selection of Highly Metastatic Human Ovarian Cancer Sublines Reveals Role for AMIGO2 in Intra-Peritoneal Metastatic Regulation" 2021 Cancer Letters, 503, pp.163-173. DOI: 10.1016/j.canlet.2021.01.024.
- Asem, M.; Young, A. M.; Oyama, C.; Claure de la Zerda, A; Liu, Y. Y.; Yang, J.; Hilliard, T. S.; Johnson, J.; Harper, E. I.; Guldner, I.; Zhang, S. Y.; Page-Mayberry, T.; Kaliney, W. J. and Stack, M. S. "Host Wnt5a Potentiates Microenvironmental Regulation of Ovarian Cancer Metastasis" 2020 Cancer Research, 80 (5), pp.1156-1170. DOI: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-19-1601.
- Hilliard, T. S. "The Impact of Mesothelin in the Ovarian Cancer Tumor Microenvironment" 2018 Cancers, 10 (9), 277. DOI: 10.3390/cancers10090277.
- Loughran, E. A.; Leonard, A. K.; Hilliard, T. S.; Phan, R. C.; Yemc, M. G.; Harper, E.; Sheedy, E.; Klymenko, Y.; Asem, M.; Liu, Y. Y.; Yang, J.; Johnson, J.; Tarwater, L.; Shi, Z. G.; Leevy, M.; Ravosa, M. J. and Stack, M. S. "Aging Increases Susceptibility to Ovarian Cancer Metastasis in Murine Allograft Models and Alters Immune Composition of Peritoneal Adipose Tissue" 2018 Neoplasia, 20 (6), pp.621-631. DOI: 10.1016/j.neo.2018.03.007.
- Loughran, E. A.; Phan, R. C.; Leonard, A. K.; Tarwater, L.; Asem, M.; Liu, Y. Y.; Yang, J.; Klymenko, Y.; Johnson, J.; Shi, Z. G.; Hilliard, T. S.; Blumenthaler, M.; Leevy, M.; Ravosa, M. J. and Stack, M. S. "Multiparity Activates Interferon Pathways in Peritoneal Adipose Tissue and Decreases Susceptibility to Ovarian Cancer Metastasis in a Murine Allograft Model" 2017 Cancer Letters, 411, pp.74-81. DOI: 10.1016/j.canlet.2017.09.028.
- Hilliard, T. S.; Miklossy, G.; Chock, C.; Yue, P. B.; Williams, P. and Turkson, J. "15 Alpha-Methoxypuupehenol Induces Antitumor Effects in Vitro and in Vivo Against Human Glioblastoma and Breast Cancer Models" 2017 Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, 16 (4), pp.601-613. DOI: 10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-16-0291.