RHO GTPASE SIGNALLING NETWORKS
Due to their ability to orchestrate cytoskeletal dynamics, Rho GTPases are emerging as key regulators of tissue development and cancer invasion. In mammals there are 20 Rho GTPases and more than 150 regulators. To this date, analysis of Rho GTPases function has been mainly restricted to the three prototypical members RAC, RHO and CDC42. In the lab, we aim to unravel new biological functions for some of the most understudied Rho GTPase network components with a special emphasis on skin development and cancer progression.
BASAL CELL CARCINOMA
Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) of the skin is the most frequent cancer in human. Due to the striking number of cases, BCC treatment creates a tremendous burden on the healthcare system. While BCCs may be easily treated via surgical removal, a significant number of patients with advance cases fail to respond, or develop resistance to currently available treatments. Our goal is to gain a better understanding of BCC biology with the aim of identifying new therapeutic opportunities for its treatment.
THE MOUSE SKIN
To tackle our questions, our lab uses a powerful technique that consists of injecting lentiviral particles in the amniotic cavity of mouse embryos, which allows the specific infection of mouse skin progenitors (Beronja et al., Nature Medicine 2010; Laurin et al., eLife 2019). This technique is extremely powerful, as it allows high-throughput screen, fast genetic perturbation and mosaic analysis in mice, approaches that have been otherwise restricted to invertebrate and lower vertebrate models. By using this technology in combination with molecular biology, cellular biology and proteomic approaches, our work aim to improve our understanding of skin tissue development and identify new therapeutic opportunities for the treatment of aggressive BCC cases.