Ronny Drapkin, MD, PhD

faculty photo
Franklin Payne Associate Professor of Pathology in Obstetrics & Gynecology
Director, Gynecologic Cancer Research, Basser Center for BRCA, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
Director, Penn Ovarian Cancer Research Center, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA
Co-Director, SPORE, NIH P50 SPORE in Ovarian Cancer - joint with Johns Hopkins University
Director, Translational Center of Excellence, University of Pennsylvania, Abramson Cancer Center
Department: Obstetrics and Gynecology
Graduate Group Affiliations

Contact information
University of Pennsylvania
Biomedical Research Building
421 Curie Blvd., Rm. 1215
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Office: 215-746-3973
BA (Biochemistry, Advisor: James Haber, PhD)
Brandeis University, 1990.
PhD (Biochemistry, Advisor: Danny Reinberg, PhD)
Rutgers Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, 1996.
MD (General Medicine)
Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, 1998.
Permanent link
> Perelman School of Medicine   > Faculty   > Details

Description of Research Expertise


The Drapkin laboratory focuses on developing a comprehensive understanding of the genetic, molecular and physiological factors that drive the development of cancer, with a special focus on gynecologic malignancies. Recent work from our group and others has implicated the fallopian tube (FT) secretory cell as the likely cell-of-origin for a majority of high-grade serous ovarian carcinomas. This new concept of ovarian tumorigenesis has been a paradigm shift in the field and the Drapkin lab has been at the forefront in developing novel experimental platforms that address the role of the FT epithelium and its susceptibility to neoplastic transformation. These platforms include genetically engineered mouse (GEM) models, fallopian tube-derived cell lines, and patient-derived tumor xenografts. The lab is currently focused on utilizing these models to interrogate how genetic and epigenetic alterations influence lineage dependencies, genomic instability, the tumor microenvironment, innervation, and drug resistance. The goal is to define selective vulnerabilities that can guide novel therapeutic approaches and biomarker development.

KEYWORDS: Ovarian cancer, Fallopian tube, Genomics/Epigenomics of precursor lesions, Tumor Microenvironment, Tumor Innervation, Cyclin E, BRCA1/2, DNA Repair, Protein complexes, Biomarkers, Animal models.


Rotation projects are open to students in each of the areas the lab focuses on. Please see Ronny Drapkin to discuss potential rotation projects.


Pat Morin, PhD, Faculty
Marilyn Mitchell, Research Specialist - Lab Manager
Hannah Rendulich, Research Specialist
Stefan Gysler, MD, Gyn Oncology Fellow
Priyanka Rawat, PhD, Bioinformatics Postdoctoral Researcher
Matthew Knarr, PhD, Postdoctoral Researcher
Pamela Rojas de Santiago, Postdoctoral Researcher
Hunter Reavis, Graduate Student
Adam Ferrari, Graduate Student
Grace McKenney, Penn Undergraduate Student


Denise Curley

Selected Publications

Chaves-Moreira D, Morin PJ, Drapkin R: Unraveling the mysteries of PAX8 in reproductive tract cancers. Cancer Research 81(4): 806-810, Feb 2021.

Reavis HD, Chen HI, Drapkin R: Tumor Innervation: Cancer Has Some Nerve. Trends in Cancer. Cell Press, 6(12): 1059-1067, Dec 2020.

Hooda J, Novak M, Salomon MP, Matsuba C, Ramos RI, MacDuffie E, Song M, Hirsch MS, Lester J, Parkash V, Karlan BY, Oren M, Hoon DS, Drapkin R.: Early loss of Histone H2B monoubiquitylation alters chromatin accessibility and activates key immune pathways that facilitate progression of ovarian cancer. Cancer Research 79(4): 760-772, Feb 2019.

Labidi-Galy SI, Papp E, Hallberg D, Niknafs N, Adleff V, Noe M, Bhattacharya R, Novak M, Jones S, Phallen J, Hruban CA, Hirsch MS, Lin DI, Schwartz L, Maire CL, Tille JC, Bowden M, Ayhan A, Wood LD, Scharpf RB, Kurman R, Wang TL, Shih IM, Karchin R, Drapkin R*, Velculescu VE*. * Co-senior/corresponding authors: High grade serous ovarian carcinomas originate in the fallopian tube. Nature Communications 8(1): 1093, Oct 2017.

Liu JF, Palakurthi S, Zeng Q, Zhou S, Ivanova E, Huang W, Zervantonakis IK, Selfors LM, Shen Y, Pritchard CC, Zheng M, Adleff V, Papp E, Piao H, Novak M, Fotheringham S, Wulf G, English J, Kirschmeier PT, Velculescu VE, Paweletz CP, Mills GB, Livingston DM, Brugge JS, Matulonis UA, Drapkin R.: Establishment of patient-derived tumor xenograft models of epithelial ovarian cancer for pre-clinical evaluation of novel therapeutics. Clin Can Res 23(5): 1263-1273, Mar 2017.

Elias KM, Emori MM, Westerling T, Long H, Budina-Kolomets A, Li F, MacDuffie E, Davis MR, Holman A, Lawney B, Freedman ML, Quackenbush J, Brown M, Drapkin R.: Epigenetic remodeling regulates transcriptional changes between ovarian cancer and benign precursors. JCI Insight 1(13): e87988, Aug 2016.

Davidowitz RA, Selfors LM, Iwanicki MP, Karst AM, Piao HY, Ince TA, Dering J, Konecny GE, Matulonis U, Mills GB, Slamon DJ, Drapkin R*, Brugge JS*. Co-senior/corresponding authors.: Mesenchymal gene program-expressing ovarian cancer spheroids exhibit enhanced mesothelial clearance. J Clin Invest 124(6):2611-25, 2014.

Karst AM, Jones PM, Vena N, Ligon AH, Liu JF, Hirsch MS, Etemadmoghadam D, Bowtell DD, Drapkin R: Cyclin E1 deregulation occurs early in secretory cell transformation to promote formation of fallopian tube-derived high-grade serous ovarian cancers. Cancer Res 74(4): 1141-52, Feb 2014.

Perets R, Muto KW, Bijron JG, Poole BB, Chin KT, Kwak S, Chen JYH, Karst AM, Setlur SR, Hirsch MS, Crum CP, Dinulescu DM, Drapkin R: Transformation of the fallopian tube secretory epithelium leads to high-grade serous ovarian cancer in Brca;Tp53;Pten models. *Highlighted in Nature Reviews Cancer, Cancer Discovery, and Cancer Research. Cancer Cell 24: 751-65, Dec 2013.

Karst AM, Levanon K, Drapkin R: Modeling high-grade serous ovarian carcinogenesis from the fallopian tube. *Highlighted in Nature Reviews Cancer and JNCI. Proc Natl Acad Sci 108: 7547-7552, 2011.

back to top
Last updated: 09/30/2022
The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania