Dr. Katherine Clifton joined the Department of medicine in the Division of Oncology as an Assistant Professor in September, 2019.
Throughout Dr. Clifton’s training, she developed an interest in clinical research. As an internal medicine resident as well as early in her hematology-oncology fellowship, she gained research experience through several projects. These projects taught her important skills sets, such as developing an IRB-approved protocol and analyzing large data sets, which she has continued to use as she directed her focus towards solid tumor and the use of circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA). Most recently, she presented an oral abstract at the ASCO Annual Meeting regarding actionable fusions in colorectal cancer using a ctDNA next-generation sequencing assay. Additionally, she was selected for the T32 program at MD Anderson. This program has provided Dr. Clifton with exceptional mentorship as well as additional research funding. During her final year of fellowship, she completed several research projects, including further developing the recent fusion project by analyzing clinicopathologic features of patients harboring actionable fusions. She also further pursued a clinical interest in breast medical oncology, with a specific interest in clinical outcomes in geriatric patients. Although a large number of older adults are diagnosed with breast cancer, these patients are often unfortunately excluded from clinical trials and more research is needed to better understand clinical outcomes and toxicities of novel therapeutics in this population. During her training, Dr. Clifton completed a project which examined progression free survival and toxicities of CDK inhibitors in a geriatric population. As a faculty member, she plans to focus her clinical interest in breast medical oncology with a focus on outcomes in the geriatric population. She also hopes to become involved in clinical trials, with a goal of increasing inclusion and enrollment in the geriatric population.