The research of Gina Razidlo, Ph.D., focuses on cancer metastasis, which is the spread of cancer cells throughout the body. Metastasis is one of the primary causes of cancer death, but therapies do not exist that specifically stop the dissemination of cancer cells. Using cell biology and biochemical strategies, Dr. Razidlo and colleagues investigate the mechanisms of tumor cell invasion and migration.
The goal of Dr. Razidlo's research is to understand how tumor cells invade and spread, particularly in pancreatic cancer, with the hope of designing therapies to stop the spread of cancer and improve patient survival.
- Cytoskeletal signaling and metastasis. The actin cytoskeleton provides the structural and mechanical framework for cell migration and invasion. Dr. Razidlo and colleagues study how novel regulators of the actin cytoskeleton control pro-invasive signaling pathways and the structural changes that drive pancreatic cancer cell metastasis.
- Signals from the tumor microenvironment that promote metastasis. The complex tumor microenvironment provides cues that signal to tumor cells and promote tumor growth and metastasis. Chronic inflammation is associated with increased cancer risk and metastasis. Dr. Razidlo is investigating how specific inflammatory signals make tumor cells more invasive, and how cancer cells themselves contribute to the inflammatory environment in tumors.
- Metabolic changes that fuel metastasis. Invasive migration is a highly energy-intensive process and requires generation of sufficient energy to power cytoskeletal and membrane remodeling. In pancreatic cancer, the oncogene KRas contributes to a metabolic rewiring of tumor cells. Dr. Razidlo and colleagues are investigating the mechanisms by which tumor cells alter their metabolism to drive metastasis, and how KRas activation couples the tumor environment to the activation of dynamic cytoskeletal changes.
Significance to patient care
Novel strategies for cancer treatment are required to improve patient outcomes. These therapies should target all aspects of tumor formation, growth and metastasis. By understanding the basic biology of cancer cells, Dr. Razidlo hopes to identify new targets for cancer therapy; particularly to halt the spread of malignant tumor cells. In addition, the findings from this research will improve the understanding of cell behavior in both normal cells and other disease states.
- Member, American Association for Cancer Research, 2013-present
- Member, American Society for Cell Biology, 2009-present
- Recipient, Teacher of the Year Award, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, 2018
- Member, Committee for Postdocs and Students (COMPASS), American Society for Cell Biology, 2013-2015
- Recipient, Career Development Award, Mayo Clinic Pancreatic Cancer SPORE, 2013-2015
- Predoctoral fellowship, National Science Foundation, 2001-2004