Michel Beausoleil is studying how Osteopontin (OPN), a protein known to be important in cancer promotion, interacts with the blood-clotting factor thrombin in order to affect breast cancer cell behavior. In particular, he is interested in investigating the cellular signaling pathways induced by the interaction between OPN and thrombin.
Laura Caria is investigating the use of two innovative approaches to monitoring tumor response for treatment of locally advanced breast cancer, which are three dimensional ultrasound imaging (3D US) and measurement of a blood protein, osteopontin. These measurements will be compared with each other and with the final pathology of the tumor after surgery, in order to accurately assess the tumor changes in response to chemotherapy.
Peter Cheung is an M.Sc. student in the Department of Pathology, University of Western Ontario, and the Cancer Research Laboratory Program, London Regional Cancer Program at London Health Sciences Centre, under the supervision of Drs. Ann Chambers and Alan Tuck. He is studying the role of the secreted protein osteopontin and its integrin receptors in breast cancer malignancy using in vitro and in vivo models.
Alysha Croker is a M.Sc. Graduate student of the Department of Anatomy & Cell Biology, working on the effect of cancer stem cells on breast cancer metastasis. She is also examining the effects of chemo and radiotherapy on breast cancer stem cells.
Sara Hamilton is working under the supervision of Dr. Eva Turley, Cancer Research Laboratory Program in the London Regional Cancer Program. Sara is studying how breast cancer cells interact and communicate with the tissue that surrounds them. In particular she is studying how Rhamm, a gene that has been linked to the growth and spread of many cancers, contributes to tumor progression, focusing on how it de-regulates signaling through the Ras-MEK1-Erk1 pathway, which has been linked to tumorigenesis, to favour transformation, migration and invasion. The goal of this research is to identify novel genes involved in promoting breast cancer initiation and progression for new therapeutic targets.
Ben Hedley is a PhD student in the Department of Medical Biophysics, University of Western Ontario and the Cancer Research Laboratory Program, London Regional Cancer Program. Under the supervision of Drs. Ann Chambers and Ian MacDonald, he is studying the role of osteopontin in the suppresion of breast cancer lymph node and lung metastases in an animal model; in particular, when lymph node and lung metastases are inhibited by the metastasis suppressor gene, BRMS1.
Michael Lizardo is a PhD student in the Department of Medical Biophysics, University of Western Ontario, and the Cancer Research Laboratory Program of the London Regional Cancer Program. Under the supervision of Dr. Ann Chambers in Oncology and Dr. Ian MacDonald in Medical Biophysics, Michael is developing pre-clinical animal models in which the lymphatic spread of breast cancer cells can be imaged by intravital microscopy and high frequency ultrasound. These models will then be used to ask biological questions regarding the underlying biology that contributes to a cancer cell's ability to spread to the lymph nodes and establish metastases.
Dina Rosita is a graduate student in the Department of Chemistry, University of Western Ontario, under the supervision of Dr. Leonard Luyt. The aim of her research is to develop radiolabelled peptide mimics of hyaluronan as molecular imaging probes targeting highly tumorigenic breast cancer cells. This project is in collaboration with Dr. Eva Turley.
The first critical step in breast cancer metastasis is the change from cells growing within the breast duct, to cells invading the adjacent tissue. Lesley will be developing a 3D tissue culture model that mimics the breast environment in order to study genes and molecules potentially involved in the initial development of invasive disease in the breast.
Rho GTPases are a family of proteins that play a pivotal role in cell migration which is a critical step for cancer metastasis. Yufeng's study focuses on the role of Rho GTPases in breast cancer migration. The aim of his study is to provide useful information for the treatment of breast cancer metastasis.