Dr. Appleyard's research interests are in the molecular basis of ulcerative colitis-associated dysplasia. One of the complications of Ulcerative Colitis is an increased risk for the development of cancer of the colon and rectum. Little is know about the transition from chronic inflammation into dysplasia and colorectal cancer, so the lab is currently attempting to develop a model of colitis-associated dysplasia which could be used to identify genetic alterations present in tumors. We will compare the development of dysplasia in animals which have tumors induced by a well-known carcinogen to that observed in animals with long term chronic intestinal inflammation, and controls. Dr. Appleyard and her associates aim to establish a profile of cancer related gene mutations (specifically p53, K-ras and APC) during the transition of inflammation to dysplasia, and correlate these with both histological and inflammatory changes. This may thus provide a molecular tool for improved estimation of diagnosis in patients with long standing ulcerative colitis as to their progression to colorectal cancer.