RHO GTPASES NETWORKS
Due to their ability to regulate cytoskeletal dynamics, Rho GTPases are emerging as key regulator 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 as been mainly restricted to the three typical member RAC, RHO and CDC42. In the lab, we aim to understand the biological roles of understudied family members during skin development and cancer progression.
BASAL CELL CARCINOMA
Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) of the skin is the most frequently occurring form of all human cancers. 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 identify molecular processes that contribute to this cancer progression with the aim of identifying new therapeutic opportunities
THE MOUSE SKIN
To tackle our questions, our lab uses a powerful technique that consist 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.