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Luis Solorio, PhDAssistant ProfessorWeldon School of Biomedical EngineeringPurdue University
Metastasis is the single greatest driver of cancer related mortalities regardless of the tumor’s tissue of origin. A defining hallmark of metastasis is the ability for tumor cells to modulate the microenvironment to facilitate invasion and colonization. These microenvironmental changes within pre-metastatic tissues play a key role in determining the invading cell’s fate. In this talk I will describe my lab’s efforts toward understanding the how the matrix composition and mechanical forces present within the metastatic microenvironment govern cell colonization and metastatic outgrowth. More specifically, we use a combination of tissue engineering approaches and mouse models to interrogate how cells use extracellular vesicles to alter the pre-metastatic niche and have identified transglutaminase-2 (TG2) as a potential target against metastasis. Additionally, I will discuss the development of 3D culture platform that allows for biomimetic stretching that mimics the physiological forces present within the lung niche, and how changes in the mechanical microenvironment influence the cell growth cycle and dormancy, creating potential novel therapeutic avenues.