About the Lab
The Roarty Laboratory investigates the molecular mechanisms regulating the cellular makeup within tumors and how cell populations communicate during breast cancer progression. Our work spans the spectrum of cell, developmental, and cancer biology. We study how spatiotemporal cues coordinate the identity and multicellular movement of epithelial cells during morphogenesis within the normal breast, and how developmental signals, often co-opted during cancer progression, direct the invasion and spread of tumor cells to distant organs during breast cancer metastasis. Although cell neighbors exchange a multitude of signals to guide ductal morphogenesis in development or cellular dissemination, transit, and colonization in breast cancer metastasis, the exact identity and mechanistic insight behind these exchanges are unclear. We hope to provide a better understanding of how cell neighbors in these contexts collaborate to achieve their biological goals.