My lab is interested in understanding the role of metabolic pathways in normal and malignant hematopoiesis. Alteration of cellular metabolism has emerged as a determinant of cell fate. In the setting of cancer, transformation-associated changes in the regulation of cell growth and proliferation can result in specific nutrient or metabolic enzyme dependencies that are absent in non-transformed cells. In addition, nutrient limitation in the tumor environment can place further stress on tumor cells. As they grow, tumor cells become increasingly dependent on adaptive stress responses to circumvent nutrient restriction. The adaptive stress responses that a tumor comes to depend on are dictated by the intrinsic properties of the tumor cells and the environment in which it resides. Similar to tumor cells, hematopoietic cells reside in a niche where nutrient supply is tightly regulated. Therefore, defining the metabolites and the adaptive stress response pathways on which normal and malignant hematopoietic cells depend will facilitate the development of better therapeutic strategies to treat hematopoietic diseases.
Ph.D. - University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center, Memphis, TN 2002-2008