Paola Gehrig, MD, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology, has been named director of UNC Gynecologic Oncology. In her new role she will oversee gynecologic oncology in the School of Medicine’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Daniel Clarke-Pearson, MD, Robert A. Ross Professor and Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology, said, “Given her many achievements in academic medicine, Dr. Gehrig will lead UNC Gynecologic Oncology by example. She is a tremendous physician and surgeon who provides outstanding, compassionate care to her patients. Her productivity in clinical and translational research is well recognized, and she is a thoughtful teacher and mentor.”
Dr. Gehrig collaborates with an active basic science laboratory and has a busy clinical practice. With Dr. Bae-Jump, they are studying genetic markers in uterine papillary serous carcinomas, a type of endometrial cancer, to identify markers that may predict metastatic or recurrent disease and are conducting studies to identify novel therapeutic targets for women with endometrial cancer.
Her group is also partnering with UNC Lineberger member, Dr. Angelique Whitehurst, to determine whether loss of a specific gene might increase sensitivity to the drug paclitaxel. With another Lineberger member, Dr. William Zamboni, she is working to evaluate whether a simple radiologic test can predict response to and toxicity from a chemotherapy nanoparticle that is commonly given to women with advanced ovarian cancer.
In collaboration with other division members, she is studying the impact of obesity and diabetes on endometrial and ovarian cancer incidence, response to therapy and long-term outcomes. The goal is to find therapies for specific patient groups as well as to understand the potential for prevention in high risk groups.
Shelley Earp, MD, professor of medicine and pharmacology and director of UNC Lineberger, said, “Paola Gehrig is a superb clinician-scientist. Her excellence in patient care and laboratory and clinical research has been recognized through her excellent publications and V Foundation funding. Her skills, enthusiasm and leadership will bring a new emphasis on innovative clinical research to a large group of women who already receive care at UNC from one of the country’s outstanding clinical groups.”
Dr. Gehrig said, “We strive to provide the best care for women with gynecologic malignancies and to advance the options that our patients have with regards to innovative surgical techniques and novel targeted therapies. With this in mind, we work to individualize the care that we deliver to each of our patients in an effort to provide her with the best possible outcomes.” She adds “I will work diligently to continue to build on the excellent clinical and research foundation that I have been so fortunate to inherit.”
Gehrig completed her medical school training at the University of Florida and her residency training in obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Virginia. In 2000, after finishing her fellowship in Gynecologic Oncology here at the University of North Carolina, she was appointed as an assistant professor in Gynecologic Oncology.