Cell Signaling and Cancer Biology
Cell signaling refers to the process by which extracellular substances produce an intracellular response. This is a normal event by which hormones, neurotransmitters and other substances regulate cell function. Many drugs and environmental agents use these same mechanisms to produce their most important effects. Thus, studying signal transduction mechanisms is a primary area of interest in pharmacology, and has been since the basic ideas of cell signaling processes were defined more than 50 years ago.
Many research opportunities related to cell signaling mechanisms, including both basic signaling processes themselves and aberrant signaling mechanisms related to disease states, exist within this program. One such fundamental process regulated through signal transduction mechanisms is cell growth. In large part, it is an alteration in the normal regulatory processes of cells that lead to cancer. The abnormal behavior of neoplastic cells can often be traced to an alteration in cell signaling mechanisms, such as receptor or cytoplasmic tyrosine kinases, altered levels of specific growth factors, intracellular processes for conveying membrane signals to the nucleus, portions of the transcription apparatus, and genes involved in the cell cycle and the regulation of DNA replication.
Courses in basic and advanced principles of signal transduction and in cancer biology are offered.
Pictured above: IGF-1 interacting with IGFBP-5 (40-92).