Thyroid Research

Elizabeth Pearce, MD, MSc, Professor of Medicine, conducts clinical and epidemiologic research in areas including the sufficiency of dietary iodine in the U.S., thyroid function in pregnancy, the thyroid effects of environmental perchlorate exposure and other potential endocrine disruptors, and the cardiovascular effects of subclinical thyroid dysfunction.

Stephanie Lee, MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine, maintains an interest in the thyroid nodule and cancer research. Her research group projects goals are to:

  • Determine innovative, noninvasive methods to diagnose a thyroid cancer. We have a NIH supported quantitative ultrasound research study to distinguish benign from malignant thyroid nodules without invasive testing such as a biopsy with expensive molecular analysis or thyroid surgery.
  • Determine the utility of a molecular test, ThyroSeq, with thyroid biopsy results in the diagnosis of thyroid cancer. We have a large clinical experience with more than 2000 sequential thyroid biopsies collected over 4 years with long term patient followup. The clinical use studies derived from this data set is important because of the lack of exclusion, racial/ethnic diversity of the BMC population and the long length of time of  followup after biopsy.We are correlating US characteristics with the cytology and molecular studies.
  • Determine the utility of the molecular test, ThyroSeq, not for the decision for surgery or no surgery but in the prognosis of the tumor. The lack of exclusion, racial/ethnic diversity and long term followup of our patients make this an important study to determine if preoperative genomic characterization can guide extent of thyroid cancer therapy to limit the significant complications of these therapies.
  • Create the largest and most detailed thyroid cancer registry in the US to answer important clinical questions to guide the best care of thyroid cancer patients. We have consented 1,871 patients with thyroid cancer seen at BMC since 2000 and entered in all of the  data (up to 1200 data points)  in February 2020 to allow analysis of this database. This large database from BMC, with it’s racial, ethnic and socioecomonic diversity combined with a long follow up of > 9 years, will provide insights into the importance of race/ethnicity, socioeconomical status, pathological features, extent of surgery and use of radioactive iodine in the clinical outcomes of our patients.

Sun Lee, MD, MSc, Assistant Professor of Medicine, conducts research on iodine nutrition and thyroid disease, especially in pregnancy, and endocrine disrupting chemicals that interfere with iodine utilization and thyroid function in pregnancy.  She is currently working on clinical research studies assessing effects of perchlorate, thiocyanate, and iodine on thyroid function in pregnancy and effects of subclinical hypothyroidism on children’s neurodevelopment.

Poorani Goundan, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, has a clinical and research interest in thyroid disease, in particular ultrasound imaging of the thyroid gland and thyroid nodules.