Lurie Cancer Center Member
Cara Gottardi, PhD
Associate Professor, Medicine, Pulmonary Division; Feinberg School of Medicine
Tumor Invasion, Metastasis & Angiogenesis
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The ability of individual cells to adhere and coalesce into distinct tissues is a major feature of multicellular organisms. Research in my laboratory centers on a protein complex that projects from the cell surface and forms a structural “Velcro” that holds cells to one another. This complex is comprised of a transmembrane “cadherin” component that mediates Ca++-dependent homophilic recognition, and a number of associated “catenins” that link cadherins to the underlying cytoskeleton. A major focus in our lab is to understand how these catenins direct cadherin-adhesive activities, and how cadherin-based cell-cell adhesion ultimately impacts gene expression and differentiation. These basic research questions are shedding new light on how dysregulation of the cadherin/catenin adhesion system drives tissue pathologies such as acute lung injury, fibrosis and cancer.