Our laboratory is interested in studying how cells respond to internal and external cues, for example by undergoing a programmed form of cell death known as apoptosis, by modulating gene expression, or through the induction of proliferation. In normal cells these pathways are very tightly controlled, but one or more are deregulated in virtually all human diseases. Our specific interests are the study of a group of mammalian proteins called IAPs (Inhibitors of Apoptosis) which have collectively been shown to participate not only in apoptosis, but in intracellular signaling leading to transcriptional changes, as well as cellular proliferation and, most recently in copper homeostasis. Much of our current research is focused on the role of IAP proteins in cancer, especially prostate and breast cancer, with a particular emphasis on the potential of IAP antagonists as therapeutic agents, and additionally we are examining the role of specific IAPs in homeostatic regulation of lymphoid cells.
Related to our work on IAPs, we are also interested in studying the signaling pathways employed by the cell surface receptor, CD30, which is highly overexpressed in cells of Hodgkin’s Disease origin, as well as certain non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas including anaplastic large cell lymphoma. CD30 is an attractive target for these classes of lymphoma, because its expression is normally highly restricted in the body. We are very interested in understanding the cellular effects of CD30-mediated signaling, especially as these signals are transduced through certain members of the IAP family, and we are most interested in examining the potential for this pathway to be exploited for therapeutic goals.
For more details on our work, please see the Research section of this website or click here to see our publications.