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Shaneen Baxter

Shaneen Baxter
Molecular Medicine

Area of Doctoral Study: Molecular Medicine

Undergraduate Institute: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Graduate Institute: Midwestern University

Research Advisor:  Steven Zhan, Ph.D.

Description of Research

My project focuses on the role of the metastasis suppressor 1 (MTSS1) gene in tumor-promoting inflammation. MTSS1 is a membrane-associated scaffold protein with multiple functions, including roles in endocytosis and regulation of receptor expression. It has been linked to progression and poor prognosis of several types of cancer, including inflammation-associated cancers such as gastric cancer and hepatocellular carcinoma, but its exact role in tumor progression is still unclear. Our lab has observed that MTSS1 knockout mice show increased inflammation compared to wild-type, and that older mice are predisposed to developing B cell lymphoma. We seek to show that MTSS1 has a regulatory role in pro-inflammatory cytokine secretion by macrophages, and that reduction or depletion of MTSS1 expression promotes a pro-inflammatory microenvironment which contributes to the development of cancer. With this study we hope to provide new insights into the role of MTSS1 in tumorigenesis, and to identify new therapeutic targets for combatting inflammation-associated cancers.