The availability of models that recapitulate the complex environments within tumors and allow high throughput screening of drugs has been a major limitation in the drug development pipeline.
The Markstein laboratory investigates how small molecules affect stem cells, stem cell initiated tumors, and the stem cell microenvironment using the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster as a model organism. The lab takes advantage of the wealth of genetic and molecular tools available in Drosophila to perform large-scale whole animal screens to identify anti-cancer drugs and drug targets.
The Farkas laboratory is investigating the role of tumor interactions with immune cells to generate either pro-inflammatory or anti-inflammatory responses that affect tumor growth. Physical tension and stress within tissues and tumors also affect progression and are the focus of the Peyton and Lynch laboratories. The Forbes laboratory employs microfluidic devices to determine flux of drugs and nutrients within 3-dimensional tumorspheres. The Lee laboratory investigates prostate tumor metastasis applying tissue engineered marrow-mimicking microenvironments and multi-dimensional imaging techniques.