About the Tumor Microenvironment Program
Kalpna Gupta, Ph.D.
James McCarthy, Ph.D.
The Tumor Microenvironment (TME) Program is a new research program that incorporates members of the former Women's Cancer Program and some members of the Genetic Mechanisms of Cancer Program. The program consists of 34 members, representing the University of Minnesota's medical school, Institute of Engineering and Medicine (IEM), Center for Magnetic Resonance Research (CMRR), College of Veterinary Medicine, and School of Dentistry; the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC); and the Hormel Institute.
TME program members seek to define critical molecular and cellular mechanisms through which alterations in the tumor microenvironment contribute to tumor-related factors in malignant progression. The program is organized in three distinct but overlapping themes that have the potential to impact tumor progression in several ways, including reducing tumor burden, limiting metastasis, and lessening cancer-induced pain, all of which affect morbidity and mortality in cancer patients.
- Mechanisms of cancer-associated pain
- Critical cellular interactions in the tumor microenvironment that facilitate malignant progression
- Key molecular interactions critical in invasion and therapeutic resistance
Martina Bazzaro, Ph.D.
Development of targeted therapies for treatment of ovarian and HPV-associated cervical cancer; development and characterization of new biomarkers for early-detection ovarian cancer; identification and characterization of molecules associated with ovarian cancer development and progression; the role of angiogenesis in ovarian cancer progression
Alvin Beitz, Ph.D.
Mechanisms of cancer pain and the mechanisms of underlying tumor metastasis
Mohammad Saleem Bhat, Ph.D.
Understanding the biochemical, cellular, and molecular processes crucial for the development of prostate and pancreatic cancer; identification of potential agents that could be used to treat and prevent cancer in humans
John Bischof, Ph.D.
Thermal biology and nanotechnology to develop novel therapies to treat cancer
Denis Clohisy, M.D.
Role of the bone marrow microenvironment in bone metastasis; novel approaches for delivery tumor therapeutics to the bone marrow microenvironment
Sean Connor, Ph.D.
Understanding the relationship between human health and integral membrane protein transport within cells with a focus in 3 areas: 1) mechanisms that govern Notch trafficking and signaling; 2) regulation of LDL receptor transport and maintaining robust cholesterol clearance from circulation; and 3) relationship between integrin recycling, cell adhesion, metastasis, and cell survival
Erin Dickerson, Ph.D.
Targeted therapy using peptides in conjunction with novel delivery approaches; development of targeted delivery strategies that overcome drug resistance of tumors and strategies that target the drivers of tumor formation and maintenance
Biochemical and physiological determinants of drug absorption, distribution, and elimination with a focus on brain tumors
Michael Garwood, Ph.D.
Developing advanced MRI and MRS spectroscopy techniques to study tissue function, metabolism and microstructure to better understand the unique functional and molecular properties of cancer, and to improve the clinical management of the disease
Edward Greeno, M.D.
Clinical management of gastrointestinal malignancies
Kalpna Gupta, Ph.D.
Opioid/opioid receptor signaling in endothelium leading to preclinical and translational studies to investigate the role of opioids and opioid receptor antagonists in angiogenesis, cancer progression and metastasis; basic and translational studies to prevent this inadvertent effect of opioids without compromising analgesia
Pankaj Gupta, M.D.
The role of proteglycans in stem cell niche formation; association of opioid use with clinical outcomes in prostate cancer, including cancer progression and survival
Bin He, Ph.D.
Application of functional electrencephalography, thermography and fMRI to the detection of physiologically relevant signals such as pain and normal and tumor cell migration
Robert Hebbel, M.D.
Vascular pathobiology of sickle disease; use of blood outgrowth endothelial cells (BOEC) for biomedical applications that permits use of these cells to survey global endothelial gene expression and to evaluate their relevance in cancer angiogenesis and as a target for therapeutic delivery
Betsy Kren, Ph.D.
The role of mitochondrial antioxidant pathways dysregulation in the initiation and progression hepatocellular carcinoma, as well as EMT transition. Use of cancer-cell specific targeted nanocapsules with RNAi cargos targeting essential survival proteins in redox and signaling pathways to treat HCC, with particular emphasis on killing the cancer stem cell or tumor initiating population
Danni Li, Ph.D.
Carbohydrate modified proteins as clinical diagnostics; cancer biomarkers, proteomics, assay development
Emil Lou, M.D., Ph.D.
Investigation of tumor heterogeneity and intercellular communication in a spectrum of invasive and aggressive solid tumor malignancies; biology of cancer cells as they relate to cancer cell invasion, progression, tumor recurrence, and chemotherapy resistance; the role of TnTs as an important mode of intercellular communication in cancer and in tumor-stromal cross-talk in the complex and heterogeneous tumor microenvironment.
Michael Maddaus, M.D.
Impact of lung cancer lymph node micrometastasis on patient outcome; development of technologies to evaluate the efficacy of minimally invasive surgery in cancer
Kevin Mayo, Ph.D.
Molecular structural characterization using NMR for the development of anti-angiogenic therapies; development of molecules that disrupt tumor angiogenesis and extracellular glycoproteins important in tumor migration and adhesion
James McCarthy, Ph.D.
Changes in the relationships between tumor cells and the surrounding extracellular matrix in tumor progression and metastasis, focusing on melanoma and prostate cancer; hyaluronan synthesis in prostate tumor growth, invasion, and metastasis to bone and other organs
Gregory Metzger, Ph.D.
Development of a prostate imaging program at the Center for Magnetic Resonance Research with the initial goal to investigate the potential of magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopy to noninvasively determine the extent and aggressiveness of prostate cancer in clinical studies
Hiroshi Nakato, Ph.D.
Function of heparan sulfate proteoglycans (HSPFs) in development using a genetically tractable model organism, Drosophila melanogaster
Paolo Provenzano, Ph.D.
Molecular mechanisms by which the stromal extracellular matrix and stromal cell populations influence epithelial cell behavior in cancer; understanding the complex interactions of biochemical factors, matrix architecture and matrix mechanical properties especially as they pertain to progression in breast and pancreatic cancer
Sundaram Ramakrishnan, Ph.D.
Biology of human ovarian cancer and the development of therapeutic strategies for the selective elimination of tumor cells; potential of targeting toxin molecules to tumor cells by linking them to specific MABs using recombinant DNA methods to improve cytotoxicity, increase the half-life of conjugates in circulation, and achieve better tumor localization and penetration.
Kaylee Schwertfeger, Ph.D.
Mechanisms through which infiltrating inflammatory cells and their soluble mediators contribute to mammary tumor formation
Virginia Seybold, Ph.D.
The study of tumor and neural cell interactions that evoke sensory activation and the investigation of strategies to enhance the analgesic ability of the endogenous cannabinoid system to attenuate cancer pain.
Donald Simone, Ph.D.
Mechanisms of cancer pain associated with bone metastasis and chemotherapy-induced neuropathy
Amy Skubitz, Ph.D.
Basic mechanisms associated in ovarian cancer spread, and the interactions of beta-1 integrin subunits and CD44 on the surfaces of ovarian carcinoma cells and mesothelial cells; identification of biomarkers that can be used for detection and prognosis of ovarian cancer
Chang Song, Ph.D.
The role of microenvironmental blood flow, p02 and pH in tumor treatment; effect of radiation and hyperthermia on tumor physiology; chemical radiosensitization and radioprotection; molecular mechanism of apoptosis caused by radiation, drugs and heat shock
Margaret Titus, Ph.D.
The role of unconventional myosins in cell migration
Daniel Vallera, Ph.D.
Development of novel anticancer therapeutics focusing on the genetic engineering of cancer biologicals as alternative therapies for drug refractory cancer
J. Thomas Vaughan, Ph.D.
Development of ultrahigh field magnetic resonance techniques and technology for biomedical applications;coil and circuits design for radio frequency (RF) field generation and reception; modeling and measurement of RF field propagation and losses in the human anatomy;
advancing the state-of-the-art in neurological, cardiac, and breast imaging through high field NMR
Michael Wilson, Ph.D.
How cell surface proteolysis modulates the tumor microenvironment to facilitate cancer growth, invasion, and metastasis
David Wood, Ph.D.
Development of in vitro tumor models that incorporate key microenvironmental cues that affect tumor development as well as the unique vascular architecture to better understand the process of metastasis - how cancer cells spread through the vasculature from one site to another, as well as how nanoparticles carrying chemotherapeutics or gene silencing siRNA, re most efficiently delivered to a tumor.