How do brain tumor cells sense the microenvironment? How are signals from the environment and neighboring cells transmitted, and then translated into phenotypic alterations? Which signals influence the motile and invasive behavior of the tumor cells?

With our research in oncogenic signaling, we are trying to understand how growth factors and extracellular matrix components alter the motile and invasive behavior of medulloblastoma tumor cells. We identify signaling pathways that promote the motile and invasive phenotype and characterize the relevant components of these pathways. We specifically focus on fibroblast growth factor (FGF) and hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) signaling and on signals derived from cellular interactions with the extracellular matrix protein collagen.