Developing and characterizing a mouse model of metastatic lung cancer
I am working alongside Dr. Julie Wells and Dr. Carol Bult to develop and characterize a mouse model of metastatic lung cancer as I prepare to matriculate into a MD-PhD program next summer. Although metastasis is a primary cause of cancer death, there is a lack of reliable and reproducible in vivo models to investigate this process. Our model builds on an existing lung cancer model that harbors an inducible oncogenic KrasG12D mutation and Trp53 deletion. We have added to this model a damaging mutation in the Dicer1 gene that is inducible in a cell-type specific manner. My part of the project involves the investigation of mRNA expression levels throughout the development of lung adenocarcinomas and metastases, handling both the bench work and computational components involved. We aim to generate such a model to better understand the underlying mechanisms of metastasis, ultimately focusing on the miRNA communication between cells during cancer progression and their potential use as therapeutic targets.