Most human cancers arise in epithelial tissues. Our lab examines the molecular mechanisms of epithelial tissue development, regeneration and carcinoma formation. We focus on signals employed for communication between epithelial cells that govern normal cellular behaviour and whose mis-regulation drives tumour formation and progression. Of particular interest is how tumour cells use signals to drive inflammation and evade surveillance by the immune system.
Our lab combines both Drosophila and mouse genetics with analysis of cancer cell lines, intestinal organoids, and human cancer patient samples to answer the question of how signals organise the behaviour of cells within an epithelium.
Our recent work has examined signalling through the Hippo-YAP pathway, which acts to sense a variety of upstream inputs to control tumour cell proliferation, migration and interactions with the tumour immune microenvironment. We work with the pharmaceutical industry to develop novel drugs that can inhibit YAP function for cancer therapy.