Morris Pollard Collegiate Professor of Biological Sciences
University of Notre Dame
Cell Signaling and Cancer Progression
The early stages of cancer progression are tightly linked to alterations in signaling cascades that control cell adhesion and invasion. Research in our laboratory focuses on signaling pathways that facilitate these changes and appears to be deregulated in several human cancers. Our studies seek to identify key regulators of epithelial glandular disruption as well as tumor cell invasion by examining the impact of specific molecular alterations on these processes, with the ultimate goal of extending these findings to the development of new diagnostic and therapeutic platforms. Our research utilizes cell biological, molecular and biochemical approaches in cellular and organotypic model systems, coupled with interrogation of clinical samples and animal models. The acquisition of the invasive phenotype—when cells disrupt normal cell-cell contacts and acquire phenotypic alterations that permit invasion through the surrounding tissue—is the focus of the laboratory’s research.