Thea Tlsty, PhD
Our laboratory is interested in studying genetic, epigenetic and functional changes involved in the earliest steps of epithelial cancers and how interactions between stromal components and epithelial cells collaborate to moderate carcinogenesis. Our research studies of human epithelial cells from healthy individuals are providing novel insights into how early molecular events affect genomic integrity and fuel carcinogenesis. Prior work from our laboratory has shown that surrounding stroma can dramatically influence tumorigenesis. We investigate how these changes are initiated and moderated, as well as their consequences for clinical disease. These insights are applied in risk assessment, early detection, and prognostic studies. Areas of particular interest include human breast carcinogenesis and the role of tumor suppressor genes in regulating premalignant phenotypes. Our studies use molecular, biochemical and cellular analyses to evaluate primary human cells, develop recombinant models of cell-cell interactions and apply novel information to intact human tissue.