Dr. Sears is a physician scientist with a focus on lung cancer. Our laboratory focuses on the impact of DNA damage and repair on the development of smoking related lung cancers and to treatment response.

Her laboratory is currently focusing on how impaired DNA repair impacts cigarette smoke-induced lung cancer development, genomic instability and mechanisms of cell death, including apoptosis, senescence and autophagy.


  • Lung Cancer, DNA Repair, Cigarette Smoke, Emphysema

Clinical Interests:

  • Lung cancer, smoking-induced lung injury, COPD, interstitial lung diseases, acute lung injury

My training in pulmonary and critical care medicine gives me a unique perspective on the burden of lung cancer, particularly in smokers. My current research focuses on the role of DNA damage response pathways in the development of smoking-related lung cancer and in the sensitization of non-small cell lung cancer cells to combination treatment with cisplatin and ionizing radiation, focusing on exploiting involved DNA repair pathways in order to optimize chemo-sensitization and to predict response to chemoradiation in non-small cell lung cancer.

My research goals involve investigating the impact of DNA damage and repair on the pathogenesis and treatment response of lung cancer.


  • Intensive Care Unit Delirium
Oncology, Oncology, Rheumatology/Allergy, Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine
MD, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Medicine, 2005
BS, Indiana University Bloomington , 2001

Fellow, American Thoracic Society, 2020

Early Career Achievement Award, American Thoracic Society, 2019

American Thoracic Society (ATS)
American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST)
International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC)
American Academy of Cancer Researchers (AACR)