About Us : Physicists

Radka Stoyanova, Ph. D.

Biography

Dr. Stoyanova has extensive background in developing approaches to best utilize imaging techniques in cancer research, diagnosis and treatment, as well as in developing approaches for the analysis, mining, and interpretation of “big data” generated by high-throughput approaches such as genomics, proteomics, and metabolomics. She received her Master’s Degree in Mathematics from the University of Sofia, Bulgaria. Dr. Stoyanova obtained her doctoral training and Ph.D. degree at the Imperial College London, under the mentorship of Profs. J.K. Nicholson and J.C. Lindon, who pioneered the application of pattern recognition techniques to NMR. Her initial work at Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia focused on the analysis of in vivo phosphorus and proton spectroscopy data associated with cancer. She has also gained considerable expertise with the analysis of gene expression microarray data along the lines of a major genetics project led by Dr. Alfred Knudson within the Fox Chase Cancer Center Human Genetics Research Program.

Dr. Stoyanova joined the faculty of the Department of Radiation Oncology, first at Fox Chase Cancer Center in 2005 and then at the Sylvester Cancer Center, Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami in 2008. Her main research focus is the implementation of new imaging approaches to improve outcomes from radiation therapy. The precise dose delivery to the malignant tissue increases the likelihood of tumor eradication by maximizing response while minimizing toxicity of surrounding normal tissue, thereby improving clinical outcome. Dr. Stoyanova utilizes volumetric MRI spectroscopy imaging to determine the margins and extent of tumor infiltration in the treatment planning of brain cancers. In prostate cancer, Dynamic Contrast Enhanced MRI (DCE-MRI) and Diffusion Weighted Imaging are routinely incorporated in the treatment planning. Dr. Stoyanova was fundamental in the initiation of several on-going clinical trials where the delineated tumor volumes in the prostate are targeted with a radiation boost. Her recent findings about the ability to decipher the characteristics of hypoxia contrast-versus-time pattern in DCE-MRI in a preclinical model are being tested in clinical setting. MRI/Real-time ultrasound targeted prostate biopsies are utilized to confirm the mapping of prostate tissue and tumor compartments identified by imaging. Dr. Stoyanova’s overarching goal is to develop a multifaceted approach, whereby combining data about biopsy location, biopsy content (biomarkers), and in vivo imaging (functional and metabolic) can lead to the informed design of effective treatment for improved tumor control and reduced toxicity.