Division chief Dr. Lynn Cornelius’ laboratory focuses upon signaling pathways important in melanoma tumorigenesis. Recently, our work has centered upon a specific signaling molecule, Rap-1, a member of the Ras superfamily of small GTPases, that functions in the MAPK pathway and integrin regulation. Our laboratory has recently shown that activation of Rap-1 contributes to activation of ERK, melanoma cell migration and integrin activation in melanoma. We are continuing these investigations to elucidate potential mechanisms of Rap-1 regulation.
A new focus of the laboratory is collaborative work in melanoma imaging with Dr. LiHong Wang at CalTech. Dr. Wang’s research has focused upon the development of novel imaging techniques, including functional photoacoustic microscopy. We are working to develop this technology for in vivo imaging in melanoma.
Finally, our clinical translational studies in melanoma include the establishment of a melanoma database that includes tissue and DNA from melanoma patients that is banked in Siteman Cancer Center Tissue Procurement Core. We are currently recruiting individuals with a history of multiple melanomas, a family history of melanoma and/or other cancers, and performing mutational analysis of their DNA.