Our research focuses on the brain microenvironment in which a primary or a secondary tumor arises, and the critical influence that recruited non-cancerous stromal cells, such as astrocytes, microglia, neurons, endothelial and immune cells, can have on brain tumor progression, metastasis and response to therapy.
We employ a range of multi-disciplinary complementary strategies to address our questions including the establishment of new mouse models of human and murine cancers, 3D bioprinting, computational approaches, and analysis of patient samples in collaboration with our clinical colleagues. Our ultimate goal is to apply this knowledge to the clinic by developing targeted therapies that disrupt essential tumor-microenvironment interactions using nanotechnology, polymer chemistry, and smart Turn-ON probes for intravital non-invasive molecular imaging.
Projects in the lab include:
- Elucidating the molecular mechanisms involved in glioblastoma – brain microenvironment interactions.
- Uncovering the role of astrocytes-mediated neuroinflammation in the establishment of melanoma brain metastasis.
- Unraveling the role of microglia in primary and secondary brain neoplasms.
- Identifying the mechanisms by which cells in the brain microenvironment regulate invasion and metastatic colonization of melanoma, breast and lung cancer.
- Identifying the mechanisms underlying the contribution of the brain microenvironment to therapeutic resistance.
- Rational design of precision theranostic nanomedicines for brain neoplasms.