Breast Cancer/Pediatric cancers (Rhabdomyosarcoma/Ewing sarcoma)
University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus
My laboratory is very interested in the parallels between normal development and tumorigenesis. We examine how developmental genes get "hijacked" by tumor cells to perform their normal developmental function, but now out of context (in the developed cell), and how the hijacking of these genes promotes the aggressiveness of tumors. We study the crosstalk between "master" regulators of development, homeobox genes, and microRNAs that control their expression and are controlled by the homeoproteins themselves. We also are very involved in developing novel drugs that target these developmental proteins, as a new way to specifically inhibit tumor progression while conferring limited side effects (as these genes are turned off once development is complete, yet are highly expressed in tumors).
Techniques routinely in use in the lab include all types of molecular biology approaches (real time PCR, western blotting, knockdown of genes and overexpression of genes). We perform work in both cell culture (cancer cell lines) as well as in cancer models, and we often examine expression of genes/microRNAs in pathways in primary patient samples.