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Cellular Communication in Cancer

The Cellular Communication in Cancer Program explores the molecular signals within and between cells that drive cancer. Researchers in this Program are developing innovative new models for human tumors and advanced imaging technology with a goal of identifying potential “druggable” targets and mechanisms of drug resistance in cancer. Current research is focused on identifying and targeting the intracellular signal transduction mechanisms in cell communication; cell-cell and cell-extracellular matrix (ECM) communication in the microenvironment; and communication at the whole-body level between tumor and host.

Program Co-leaders

The Cellular Communication in Cancer Program has three overarching themes: (I) identifying and targeting signaling in cancer using advanced model systems; (II) elucidating and targeting tumor-host interactions, and (III) understanding cancer in the context of the whole-body. Members of the Program include experts with an in-depth understanding of different families of signaling proteins, integrated with investigators who are leaders in the fields of cancer biology and metastasis, and complemented by investigators who innovate technologies for studying molecular and cellular functions. As such, the Program generates basic discoveries that can drive new areas for cancer therapy. Work of the Program members is heavily dependent on the support from the CSHL Cancer Center Shared Resources, in particular the Animal, Animal & Tissue Imaging, Antibody & Phage Display, Mass Spectrometry, Flow Cytometry, and Sequencing Technologies & Analysis Shared Resources.

Building publication list.
Semir Beyaz

Semir Beyaz

Are you really what you eat? Our goal is to uncover the precise mechanisms that link nutrition to organismal health and disease states at the cellular and molecular level. A particular focus in our lab is to understand how dietary perturbations affect the immune system and contribute to the risk of diseases that are associated with immune dysfunction such as cancer.

Jeremy C. Borniger

Jeremy C. Borniger

Patients with cancer frequently experience debilitating symptoms that can impair quality of life and reduce odds of survival. These include drastic changes in appetite, sleep/wake cycles, cognitive function, and pain, among others. Our lab aims to uncover mechanistic interactions between the brain and cancer that drive these phenomena. Reciprocally, we investigate how manipulation of specific brain circuits influences cancer processes in the body.

Camila dos Santos

Camila dos Santos

Among the changes that occur during pregnancy, those affecting the breasts have been found to subsequently modify breast cancer risk. My laboratory investigates how the signals present during pregnancy permanently alter the way gene expression is controlled and how these changes affect normal and malignant mammary development.

Mikala Egeblad

Mikala Egeblad

Cancer cells are surrounded by immune cells, blood vessels, chemical signals and a support matrix—collectively, the tumor microenvironment. Most microenvironments help tumors grow and metastasize, but some can restrict tumors. My lab studies how to target the bad microenvironments and support the good ones to combat cancer.

Douglas Fearon

Douglas Fearon

I’m studying how to harness the power of the immune system to fight cancer. Our underlying premise is that the microenvironment within a tumor suppresses the immune system. We have found a way to eliminate this suppression in the mouse model of pancreatic cancer, which has led to development of a drug for human pancreatic cancer that will enter phase 1 clinical trials in 2015.

Tobias Janowitz

Tobias Janowitz

Cancer is a systemic disease. Using both laboratory and clinical research, my group investigates the connections between metabolism, endocrinology, and immunology to discover how the body’s response to a tumor can be used to improve treatment for patients with cancer.

Michael Lukey

Michael Lukey

Tumor growth depends upon cancer cells acquiring nutrients from their environment and using these molecules to fuel proliferation. My group studies the nature and regulation of metabolic adaptation during tumorigenesis and metastasis, with the intention of identifying metabolic vulnerabilities that can be targeted for cancer therapy.

Scott Lyons

Scott Lyons

I provide collaborative research support to CSHL researchers in the area of preclinical in vivo imaging. This includes access to a comprehensive range of imaging modalities, as well as provision of experimental guidance, training and imaging reagents. In addition, my lab develops new and impactful ways to image aspects of in vivo tumor biology that are broadly relevant to the development of new therapeutics and the research interests of the CSHL Cancer Center.

Darryl Pappin

Darryl Pappin

Our genome can encode hundreds of thousands of different proteins, the molecular machines that do the work that is the basis of life. I use proteomics, a combination of protein chemistry, mass spectrometry and informatics, to identify precisely which proteins are present in cells - cells from different tissues, developmental stages, and disease states.

Nicholas Tonks

Nicholas Tonks

Cells must constantly react to what is happening around them, adapting to changes in neighboring cells or the environment. I study the signals that cells use to exchange information with their surroundings. Our group is finding drugs that target these signals and thus can treat diabetes, obesity, cancer, and autism spectrum disorders.

Lloyd Trotman

Lloyd Trotman

We have recently developed the first genetic mouse model for therapy and analysis of metastatic prostate cancer. Now we can test if and how modern concepts of cancer evolution can outperform the 80-year-old standard of care - hormone deprivation therapy - and turn lethal prostate cancer into a curable disease.

David Tuveson

David Tuveson

Pancreatic cancer is an extremely lethal malignancy. On average, patients who are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer succumb to the disease within 6 months. Research is the only way to defeat pancreatic cancer. My lab is making progress toward finding a cure by detecting the disease earlier and designing novel therapeutic approaches.

Linda Van Aelst

Linda Van Aelst

Normal cell function relies on coordinated communication between all the different parts of the cell. These communication signals control what a cell does, what shape it takes, and how it interacts with other cells. I study these signaling networks to understand how they guard against cancer and neurological disorders.

Johannes Yeh

Johannes Yeh

Cells orchestrate proteins to conduct cell-cell communications and environment sensing in order to execute physiological functions. My lab investigates the mechanisms by which dysregulated signals cause diseases such as cancer, and we are developing therapeutics based on these mechanisms.