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Biomedical Magnetic Resonance Laboratory (BMRL)

Joseph Ippolito, M.D., Ph.D.

Contact Information
Washington University School of Medicine
Department of Radiology
Campus Box 8131
660 S.Euclid Ave
St. Louis, MO 63110
(314) 362-2928
ippolitoj@wustl.edu 

Current Positions
Instructor
Medical Director, Center for Clinical Imaging Research
Co-Director, Diagnostic Radiology Residency Research Track

Education
Washington University School of Medicine; Saint Louis, MO; Doctor of Medicine and Doctor of Philosophy in Molecular Biophysics, May 2007
Cornell University; Ithaca, NY; Bachelor of Science (Highest Honors with Distinction), May 1998

Research Interests
My laboratory, centered in cancer metabolism, aims to establish a workflow that merges clinical metabolic imaging (e.g., hyperpolarized MRI, PET, CT), metabolomics, and metabolically-driven therapeutics to develop new paradigms in precision medicine. Our goal is to identify key metabolic pathways that support metabolic compartments in tumors, understand how nutrients are shared among these compartments, and develop / repurpose imaging methods and therapeutics that can target these compartments. We currently have two major projects in our lab:

  • Preclinical, translational, and clinical investigations into sex differences in cancer metabolism:
    In cancers throughout the body, males not only have a higher incidence, but higher mortality than women. Although the reason for this is not yet clear, sex differences in nutrient uptake and metabolism are seen early in development and are carried into adulthood. My group is identifying specific metabolic pathways that underlie this phenomenon, operating under the hypothesis that sex differences in nutrient uptake and metabolism underlie sex differences in survival. To accomplish this, we are using novel mouse models to study sex differences in brain tumors in combination with stable isotopes, mass spectrometry, NMR, and metabolic PET tracers to understand sex differences in cancer metabolism from both a tumor-centric and body-centric approach. On the clinical end, we are developing ways to assess prognostic sex differences in both tumor and patient metabolism with imaging using PET, MRI, and CT. We have successfully developed new obesity metrics with abdominal CT to predict sex-specific outcomes in renal cell carcinoma patients and are using these methods to identify sex differences in outcomes in patients with other cancers.

  • Preclinical, translational, and clinical investigations into neuroendocrine prostate cancer metabolism:
    Neuroendocrine prostate cancer (NEPC) is an aggressive, lethal disease that is resistant to conventional therapies. Moreover, there is emerging evidence that anti-androgen therapies used to treat conventional prostate adenocarcinoma can elicit a molecular conversion from adenocarcinoma to NEPC.  My lab has investigated this phenomenon for many years and has elucidated several metabolic pathways that we believe enhance the aggressive characteristics of this disease. We are using metabolomics-based methods with stable isotopes, mass spectrometry and NMR in conjunction with new metabolic PET tracers (e.g. [11C] lactate) to identify how these cells utilize nutrients besides glucose and how specific combinations of diet and therapeutics can be used to exploit vulnerabilities in this lethal cancer.

For an up to date list of Dr. Ippolito’s publications please see his entry on PubMed.