The Department of Metabolism and Physiology focuses on the characterization of cancer-related processes in their native state through the use of non-invasive techniques, including intravital microscopy, clinical grade imaging (PET/CT/MRI), and ex vivo live microscopy and metabolomics. We investigate complex networks (metabolic, signaling) within living cells, complex cell-cell interactions within organoids or tumors, and complex interactions between tumor and stroma in experimental animals and human tumor tissue samples. The data from these studies are quantitatively analyzed and increasingly used to inform mathematical models, in collaboration with the departments of Integrated Mathematical Oncology and Epidemiology, to develop new paradigms for carcinogenesis and cancer therapy.
Examples of research areas include investigation of: (1) the impact of redox and pH stressors on cancer and stromal cell metabolism; (2) the emergence of resistance to radiation, chemotherapy, targeted agents, and immunotherapy, as well as therapeutic interventions to resensitize patients to therapy; (3) development of cell-surface targeted agents for imaging and therapy; and (4) image analytics for improved diagnosis, prognosis, and prediction. Faculty members in Metabolism and Physiology actively collaborate with faculty at other institutions in the U.S. and throughout the world.
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