The overall goals of this program are to understand the fundamental cellular and molecular processes that contribute to cancer development and progression. The research interests of the program can be divided into three broad themes: Cancer Genetics, Epigenetics, and Chaperone Biology. Collectively these themes address important topics of tumor cell and molecular biology:
Normal cells have intricate molecular mechanisms that control essential phenotypes such as differentiation, cell division and movement. The molecular pathways that control these phenotypes are disrupted in cancer cells as a result of the expression of oncogenes and loss of regulatory tumor suppressor genes. These events, which are often highly specific to individual types of cancer, disrupt specific molecular pathways that result in uncontrolled cell growth and loss of normal responses to extracellular signaling cues that result in tumor development and progression.
Through a more detailed understanding of the various ways in which cancer cells avoid normal regulatory controls it will eventually be possible to design individualized therapies targeting tumor-specific pathways based on their molecular signatures.