Laurie Littlepage, PhD, Associate Professor of Chemistry & Biochemistry and the Campbell Family Associate Professor of Cancer Research, has been appointed as Co-Leader of the Tumor-Host Communication (THC) program, effective May 01, 2022. She replaces Siyuan Zhang, PhD, who recently joined the faculty of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. Dr. Littlepage joins Dr. Pinar Zorlutuna, Sheehan Family Collegiate Professor of Engineering, to jointly lead the THC program. The goal of the THC program is to develop analytical approaches, novel technologies, and relevant model systems with which to improve cancer early detection; mechanistically evaluate cancer initiation, progression, and metastasis; and develop advanced models for therapeutic evaluation. Investigators in the THC program focus on the themes of tumor analytics and tumor microenvironment modeling.
Littlepage’s research focus is tumor/stroma interaction in mammary gland development and breast cancer progression. Overall, her research is grounded in understanding the mechanisms of cancer progression and identifying therapies that prevent or reverse cancer in patients. Her research aims to understand how poor prognostic cancer evolves over time within physiological microenvironments and in response to treatment, ultimately circumventing current therapies, both in the primary tissue and at the metastatic site. This research is focused on identifying predictive markers and therapeutic strategies that will overcome therapy resistance in cancer patients with metastatic disease. These studies are aimed at determining how specific genes drive aberrations in fundamental biological processes and identifying targeted therapies for personalized cancer treatment. Prior to joining the University of Notre Dame in 2012, Littlepage held a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco in Dr. Zena Werb’s laboratory. She obtained her doctorate in Cell & Developmental Biology from Harvard University and her Bachelor of Science degrees in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Texas at Austin.