Abstract: Series 105, Lecture 7

The Harvey Lectures Series 105 (2009—2010)

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Lecture #7: Thursday, May 27, 2010 — Time and Location

Modeling Epithelial Morphogenesis and Tumorigenesis in Three Dimensions: Insights Derived In Vitro

Joan S Brugge, PhD

Joan S Brugge, PhD

Professor and Chair, Department of Cell Biology

Harvard Medical School

Boston, Massachusetts

Dr Brugge's Website

The proliferation, survival and branching of breast epithelial cells is highly influenced by interactions of the epithelial cells with other cells, with their surrounding extracellular matrix, and with hormones and other regulatory factors in their microenvironment. Oncogenes, tumor suppressor genes, and factors in the microenvironment allow cells to escape regulatory controls imposed on cells in their natural tissue environment, thus leading to progressive changes in the organization of cells, their proliferative capacity, their sensitivity to stress-induced death and their ability to escape from their natural environment. We are utilizing an in vitro 3-dimensional model in breast epithelial cells are able to organize into hollow, spherical structures that resemble glandular acini. In my lecture I will highlight findings from our studies designed to elucidate mechanisms involved in normal morphogenesis, reconstruction of oncogene-induced events that are involved in the initiation and progression of cancer, identification of cellular pathways that mediate these events, and development of methods to determine the activity state of these pathways in human tumors.