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Signaling Network Cross-Talk in Ovarian Cancer
Ovarian cancer is the 5th leading cause of cancer death in women. The high mortality rate is primarily due to the late stage at which ovarian cancer is typically found. Patients accumulate different mutations in their tumors during disease progression, making it impossible to define a blanket treatment for everyone. We are working to characterize a panel of ovarian cancer cell lines to capture this diversity and determine how cells respond to current drugs. By delineating molecular signatures that correspond to drug sensitivities we hope to better match patients to drugs and improve prognosis. Additionally, our models will attempt to reconstruct the cross-talk between various pathways in the cell. These models will be examined to determine signals that are most responsible for controlling proliferation, providing new drug targets for ovarian cancer.

Estrogen and Phytoestrogen Interactions in Breast Cancer

Estrogen receptor (ER) expression is one of the best determinants for therapeutic choice in breast cancer. However, the roles of the two ERs (ERα and ERβ) in estrogen signaling remain unclear. Additionally, there are conflicting studies about the impacts of plant-based estrogens, called phytoestrogens, on breast cancer progression. To address these questions, we will experimentally alter the levels of ERα and ERβ and follow cellular signals and responses to treatment with estrogens and/or phytoestrogens. Our models will be used to identify critical signaling mechanisms regulating estrogenic effects on proliferation in breast cancer, providing novel drug targets.