REU Project 14—Understanding the contributions of extracellular matrix to normal development, tumorigenesis and metastasis using Drosophila genetics—Dr. Ajay Srivastava, Biology Department
Throughout development, tissues and organs are organized from diverse pools of cells. During this organization of tissues and organs the cells display features of proliferation, apoptosis, migratory and invasive behavior. These behaviors are also observed during the development and progression of tumor cells from benign to metastatic. Despite the involvement of these behaviors in normal development and cancer, the underlying mechanisms are not clearly understood. Research in my lab focuses on understanding the role of extracellular matrix (ECM), proteases and protease like molecules in normal development and tumorigenesis/metastasis using Drosophila genetics. We are particularly interested in understanding the contributions to tumorigenesis of a specialized form of ECM called basement membrane (BM) as this structure must be degraded during tissue remodeling and tumor metastasis. A better understanding of the ECM’s contribution to tumor development and metastasis could thus help in more effective drug design against cancer.