Dr. Goetz will provide critical insight into novel approaches to study molecular mechanisms that control force-dependent organogenesis these processes. His hosts, Drs. Calvin Roskelley and Ivan Robert Nabi are part of a team at UBC’s Life Sciences Institute focused on this area, which encompasses not only cancer but also stem cell development and tissue morphogenesis. UBC researchers are also developing correlative light-electron microscopy approaches, with which Dr. Goetz has tremendous expertise and is a world expert. An overarching objective of Dr. Goetz’s visit and interactions with UBC and BC Cancer Research Centre scientists, trainees and staff will be to nucleate the formation of a Pacific Northwest-France ‘Mechanotransduction/Tumour Invasion’ research cluster.
Dr. Roskelley’s laboratory is focused on understanding the genes and their products involved in regulating tissue architecture in breast and ovarian carcinoma progression. They have developed specialized, 3-dimensional models that allow for the recapitulation of normal epithelial tissue architecture outside the body in a tissue culture dish. They are now modulating the expression and function of cell adhesion molecules in these cultures to determine how architectural disruption allows epithelial cells to break away from the original tumor and begin invading surrounding tissues. The Roskelley group is also determining the specific molecules that are involved in regulating this migratory switch in breast and ovarian tumor cells.