Lisa Du Rose Hills
Interplay between LKB1 and mTOR in hepatocellular carcinoma cells
Cancer is characterized by uncontrolled cell growth, which is in part dependent on mTOR, a serine/threonine kinase that controls protein translation. Although mTOR is almost never mutated in cancer cells , mutations upstream of mTOR can influence the rate at which the cells grow. The Shokat lab has studied the effect of mTOR inhibitors in liver cancer cells, identifying the tumor suppressor kinase LKB1 as a potential modifier of mTOR inhibitor sensitivity. LKB1 has multiple targets with different effects on cancer cell behavior. Through pharmacological and signal transduction analysis, I aim to understand which targets of LKB1 can alter mTOR inhibitor sensitivity. My hope is that by understanding the molecular processes behind cancers response to chemical inhibitors, we can better target these drugs to patients who will benefit from them.