Dr. Bisrat G. Debeb
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Department of Breast Medical Oncology
Research in my laboratory is focused on the investigation of the molecular determinants of breast cancer aggressiveness, metastasis and therapy resistance. Specifically, our research efforts are aimed to (i) identify and target the molecular drivers of brain metastasis, a common and devastating manifestation of advanced stage breast cancers. (ii) investigate the unique pathobiology of inflammatory breast cancer (IBC), a very aggressive and most lethal form of primary breast cancer that disproportionately affects young and African American women.
Current efforts in the laboratory involve characterizing new drivers of brain metastasis, developing better brain metastasis mouse models and designing novel therapeutic strategies to treat or prevent brain metastasis, and characterizing novel mediators of aggressiveness and therapy resistance in IBC. Along these lines we have developed preclinical mouse models of brain metastasis from aggressive HER2+ and triple-negative breast cancer cells (JNCI, 2016) to better understand the biology and the mechanisms underlying metastatic dissemination to the brain. We also utilize cell lines, primary cell cultures, patient derived xenograft (PDX) mouse models and human tissue samples to unravel the molecular underpinnings of IBC and brain metastasis. These efforts are envisioned to provide novel therapeutic approaches with a potential to translate into the clinic for improved breast cancer patient survival.
A tutorial in my laboratory would provide experience with mouse models (in vivo breast cancer studies), cell culture techniques, flow cytometry, molecular and cell biology techniques as well as cancer stem cell studies.