Inspiring Scientific Curiosity and Discovery

Collective Cell Migration: Patterning the Face and Peripheral Nervous System with Unique Roles in Cancer Invasion

Dr. Paul Kulesa seeks to understand the molecular and cellular mechanisms that govern cell migration during development and in cancer. The migratory and other behavioral properties of neural crest cells and their similarity to cancer cells, demonstrates how developmental programs are co-opted or hijacked during tumor formation and cancer metastasis. This is particularly true for neural crest cell derived cancers such as neuroblastoma and melanoma. The Kulesa lab combines computational modeling, imaging, and experimental biology to better understand how neural crest cells move from one place to another in the embryo, with the long-term goal of deciphering the mechanistic origins and pathogenesis of birth defects and neural crest derived cancers.