Research Programs

Tumor Microenvironment & Metastasis

Tumor LabThe Tumor Microenvironment and Metastasis (TMM) Program arose as a consequence of existing collaborations established in a working group among interactive investigators studying solid tumors and metastatic processes. The scientific goals of the TMM program are to advance our basic understanding of the role of cancer cell stromal interactions in cancer initiation, progression and metastasis; to evaluate the functions of the metastatic niche; and translate discoveries of the pathobiology of solid tumors, the tumor microenvironment, and the metastatic niche into new cancer targets and novel therapies.

Scientific goal: The scientific goals of the program are advanced by focused work in two themes:

Theme 1: Cancer cell-stroma interactions

Aim 1: Determine the role of the stroma in neuroplexiform tumors associated with neurofibromatosis.

Aim 2: Determine how cell-specific transforming growth factor-beta TGF-β signaling affects solid tumor growth and metastasis.

Aim 3: Determine the role of cancer cell-stroma interactions in human papillomavirus carcinogenesis.

Aim 4: Characterize tumor-stroma interactions and the role of stromal inflammation, hypoxia, and microRNAs in solid tumor development and progression.

Aim 5: Determine the mechanisms of tumor growth (primary and metastatic) in the brain.

Theme 2: The metastatic niche

Aim 1: Determine the role of the bone microenvironment in tumor growth. 

Aim 2: Determine the mechanisms of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma metastasis in relation to p53 and Hedgehog signaling.

Aim 3: Determine mechanisms of ovarian cancer metastasis