Scientific Programmes

Cancer Cell Biology Programme

Epithelial Cell Biology Group

Group Leader:  Mirna Perez-Moreno

Tumour cells evolve into a progressively complex interplay between heterogeneous tumour cells and their tissue macroenviroment, which influences their proliferation and malignancy. Identifying the signalling mechanisms and cell types that sustain this complexity is one of the major goals in cancer biology. In adult skin, epithelial progenitor cells have been identified as the cell of origin of skin carcinomas. Several studies have been instrumental for defining regulatory pathways controlling their proliferation and/or differentiation. However, the identification of extrinsic factors modulating stem cell behaviour has not progressed very far to date. Using skin as a model system and employing mouse genetics and human samples, our research aims to understand how the interactions between epithelial progenitor cells, and also the interactions with their surrounding macroenvironment, sustain skin homeostasis, regeneration, and when perturbed lead to cancer. This information may provide insights for the future development of regenerative and anti-cancer therapies.