Mitochondrial Estrogen Receptors in Breast Cancer
How do mitochondrial estrogen receptors (ERs) affect mitochondrial priming and chemotherapy response in breast cancer cells? In this project, we try to understand how mitochondria-localized ERs in ER (+) breast cancer cells modulate mitochondrial priming preset and Bcl-2 protein dependence of these cells. In addition, response to physiologic and chemical cell death inducers are currently being evaluated in mitochondrial-ER (+) and (-) cells. BH3 profiling technique developed in Letai Lab has been adapted into the lab routine and in parallel, a BH3 signature is being sought for ER-negative breast cancer cell lines.
Rab25 GTPase in Ovarian Cancer
This project aims to identify the role of a small Rab GTPase, Rab25, in the pathobiology of ovarian cancer. An ovarian cancer cell line panel is being used as the initial experimental model, focusing on how this small Rab GTPase regulates cell cycle progression, cell death and cell proliferation in ovarian cancer cells in addition to its vesicle trafficking function. Protein knockdown/overexpression studies, fluorescence proliferation assays, immunofluorescence confocal microscopy, cell cycle and cell death assays are being utilized as fundamental experimental approaches.
Resistance to Pan-EGFR inhibitors in Breast Cancer
While several panHER inhibitors are currently being developed for the treatment of various human cancers including breast cancer, we still don’t have enough insight into the molecular switches how cancer cells become resistant to panHER inhibition. In this project, we tackle the question how HER2+ breast cancer cells acquire resistance to panHER inhibitor neratinib, regarding the cellular signaling pathways governing HER signaling and mitochondrial apoptosis.
Decoding Molecular Alterations During Tumor Evolution