Our laboratory is interested in the role of mucin glycoproteins in disease. Mucins are large molecular weight (250,000 to > 1 million Daltons) glycoproteins with from 50% to 90% of their molecular mass due to O-linked carbohydrates. Mucins have been incriminated in several diseases, in particular, carcinomas of the mammary gland, lung, colon, pancreas, stomach, prostate, ovary, and endometrium, in which a cell-associated mucin, MUC1, has been shown to be up-regulated and aberrantly expressed. Mucins are also over-expressed in diseases such as cystic fibrosis, asthma, and chronic obstructive lung disease.
Our primary research goals are: 1) to determine the function of the MUC1 cell-associated mucin molecule in cell adhesion, tumor progression, metastasis, and modulation of the immune system and 2) to characterize MUC1 and other immunogens as tumor vaccines.