World-renowned chemist to speak at Moffitt

January 18, 2006

Tampa, FL – H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute presents its ninth annual Ted Couch Cancer Research Lectureship featuring Mina J. Bissell, Ph.D., January 24 at 4 p.m., in the Ted and Marty Couch Auditorium in the Vincent A. Stabile Research Building. The presentation is free and open to the public.

Bissell, a Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory chemist, who is recognized for pioneering breast cancer research will present “The Secret of the Cell is Outside the Cell: The Role of Tissue Architecture in Normal and Malignant Breast.” She is well-known for her research in the role of the extracellular matrix (ECM) and cell microenvironment in regulating cancer cells. Bissell and her collaborators discovered that by manipulating cell signals from ECM, cancer cells behaved normally. Previously ECM − a complex structural entity surrounding cell tissues in mammals − was considered a passive “scaffold” or support for cells. As the result of this groundbreaking research, scientists now recognize the ECM is involved in the signaling of all body tissues as well as the lymphatic and blood tissues and cells in the brain.

In 1981, Ted Couch, then Moffitt’s executive committee chairman, founded the Cortner-Couch Chair in Basic Research with his late business partner, George Cortner. The $1-million endowment became the impetus for Moffitt’s increased emphasis on basic research. Moffitt’s scientific leadership selected Bissell under the direction of W.J. Pledger, Ph.D., deputy center director and associate center director for Basic Research and recipient of the Cortner-Couch Chair.

About H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute

Located in Tampa, Florida on the University of South Florida campus, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute ( is the only Florida-based cancer center with the NCI designation as a Comprehensive Cancer Center for its excellence in research and contributions to clinical trials, prevention and cancer control. Moffitt currently has 15 affiliates in Florida, one in Georgia and two in Puerto Rico. Additionally, Moffitt is a member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, a prestigious alliance of the country’s leading cancer centers, and is listed in U.S. News & World Report as one of America’s Best Hospitals for cancer. Moffitt’s sole mission is to contribute to the prevention and cure of cancer.