Sheila Thomas, Ph.D.
|Title||Director of Diversity and Minority Affairs|
|Institution||Harvard Medical School|
|Department||Division Of Medical Sciences|
|Address||Harvard Graduate School of Arts & Sci|
Holyoke Ctr 350
1350 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge MA 02138
|Title||Assistant Professor of Medicine|
|Institution||Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center|
The major interests of my laboratory are in the area of Cancer Cell Biology. In particular, we are interested in elucidating and understanding signaling networks which control key cellular processes. Over the past several years, we have focused on understanding pathways regulating cell migration in normal and malignant cells. We have used both in vivo and in vitro models to elucidate the functions of specific cytoskeletal scaffolding proteins in development and to define the mechanisms by which they regulate processes such as cell migration and transformation. Our work has provided a number of key in vivo and in vitro models for the field (Liu et al., 1999; Hagel et al., 2002; Webb et al., 2004; Chen et al., 2005). These tools have been critical for understanding the molecular basis by which one of these proteins regulates cell migration. Through this work, we have also identified unexpected roles for some of these proteins in a process called autophagy (Chen et al., 2008).
Autophagy is a highly conserved mechanism for controlling cellular homeostasis. Misregulation of this process has been implicated in numerous human pathogenic states including heart disease, cancer, and neurodegenerative disorders. In addition, a number of viral and bacterial pathogens hijack the autophagy machinery. Our goal is to identify the regulatory networks controlling autophagy and to determine how misregulation of this pathway contributes to human disease
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