We are an interdisciplinary group of basic scientists and clinical researchers with intersecting interests in model systems of cancer, and basic and translational cancer research with a focus on oral, head and neck tumors. The goal of our group is to define the molecular basis for how adaptive response mechanisms are exploited by cancers to drive disease progression. These adaptive signaling networks directly influence tumor development and progression by enabling cancer cells to cope with both tumor cell-intrinsic and cell-extrinsic insults and develop acquired resistance to therapeutic interventions. This is due in part to dynamic transcriptional rewiring induced by oncogenes in response to cues that promote cell survival and malignant transformation. To achieve these ambitious goals, we have focused on the development of preclinical models and technologies to detect, measure, and manipulate cell signaling pathways both in vitro at the cellular level, and in vivo at the organismal level. We apply an interdisciplinary approach that integrates a combination of bioinformatics, genetically engineered cell line and animal models, pharmacologic and molecular genetic analyses, and synthetic biology approaches to investigate how spatial and temporal control of cell signaling impacts the expression of adaptive response genes involved in various aspects of tumor development and progression. By working at the interface of oral oncology, chemical and molecular biology, and targeted therapeutics, we hope to bring ‘unconventional’, yet efficacious treatments for these cancers into the clinic.
OGE Mentoring Workshop