Our laboratory currently focuses on following research themes:
a. Epithelial-mesenchymal plasticity
Epithelial-mesenchymal plasticity (EMP) underlies many aspects of metastasis: cell migration and invasion, tumor-initiation potential, resistance to cell death, immune evasion etc. We focus on identifying the underlying design principles of networks driving EMP, particularly focusing on hybrid epithelial/mesenchymal phenotype(s).
b. Non-genetic mechanisms of adaptive resistance
Genetic mutations can drive resistance against a specific drug or other cellular stress, but cells can also adapt to them due to non-genetic mechanisms such as phenotypic plasticity and stochastic cell-to-cell heterogeneity. We aim to decipher how the underlying dynamics of cellular networks can regulate these adaptive mechanisms.
c. Collective behavior in cancer cell populations
Cancer is a complex system, and cellular phenotypes are affected by bidirectional communication of cancer cells with themselves and with their environment. We develop multi-scale mechanism-based models as predictive 'in silico co-culture' systems to elucidate the collective and coordinated emergent dynamics in a tumor ecosystem.