Vasioukhin, Valera

Faculty Profile

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Primary Institution: 
Human Biology
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Office Phone: 
(206) 667-1710

Research Summary: 

Cell polarity and cell adhesion in mammalian development and cancer.

Individual cells in all metazoan organisms need to communicate with each other in order to coordinate their behavior to ensure survival of the entire organism. During embryonic development, non-differentiated totipotent cells divide asymmetrically and generate daughters, which are destined to become the myriads of different cell types that will stop proliferation, differentiate and generate organs of predetermined shapes and sizes. This process of asymmetric cell division is repeated in all organs and tissues of adult organisms during maintenance by their respective stem cell populations. The overall general aim of our research is to understand the mechanisms responsible for orchestrating cellular behavior that help cells work together to produce and maintain normal mammalian organism. We believe that errors in these general mechanisms are ultimately responsible for diseases. Our laboratory is pursuing research in three major directions:

1. We study the mechanisms responsible for asymmetric cell division that help to ensure both the maintenance of pluripotent stem cell population and normal cell differentiation. We believe that the failure of these mechanisms is ultimately responsible for cancer.

2. We are trying to understand how cells use intercellular adhesion structures to determine their position within the organ and translate this information into critical decisions concerning cell proliferation, differentiation and programmed cell death.

3. We are studying the causal mechanisms responsible for initiation and progression of human prostate cancer.

Since we study how the cells relate to each other and live as a community, we need to analyze them in live organisms. Therefore, we use mouse as a primary model in our research. 

Short Research Description: 
Cell polarity and cell adhesion in mammalian development and
Areas of Interest: 
Cancer Biology
Cell Signaling & Cell/Environment Interactions
Developmental Biology, Stem Cells & Aging
<p> Biological Sciences, Cancer or Carcinogenesis, Cell Biology, Prostate Cancer, Tumors</p>

Taking Students
2013 - 2014

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