Ville Magazine l Insider Access for City Lifestyle Mar/Apr 2016 / People Issue - Page 25

When I came to interview, I could tell almost immediately that it lived up to its reputation and more. It is driven by science and to better humanity, and that really resonated with me. Still does. I’m honored to run a laboratory at a place with such a rich history and with such wonderful colleagues. This past summer you received a $4.1M grant to study ways to prevent metastatic breast cancer. Why have you decided to focus your research on this type of cancer? Photo: Bo Jungmayer / Fred Hutch News Service Can you explain what metastatic microenvironments are exactly? THE INNOVATOR Yes. Tumors of all kinds spread and eventually grow from their site of origin to other organ sites. This process is called metastasis. My lab primarily studies breast cancer. But rather than study cancer cells in the breast, we study them in the tissues that breast cancer metastasizes to—the bones, lungs, brain, liver, and lymph nodes. As you can imagine, these tissues are very different than the breast, and the microenvironments (all of the normal cells, things they secrete, and structures making up these tissues) breast tumor cells “see” when they enter these organs are very different from where they used to live. We study how these new “normal” tissue microenvironments regulate breast tumor cells whe