The Cell Biology of Metastasis Laboratory investigates the mechanisms by which cancer spreads throughout the body.

The vast majority of cancer deaths are associated with metastasis, but current cancer therapies don't inhibit the metastatic process. In the Cell Biology of Metastasis Lab, principal investigator Gina Razidlo, Ph.D., and her research team hope to change that and improve patient survival. We're using biochemistry and cell biology to study tumor cell migration and invasion, with the prediction that targeted inhibition of metastatic invasion in combination with therapies to target the primary tumor would improve outcomes.

Focus areas

Our lab has two main focus areas of research:

  • Signaling pathways that regulate cytoskeletal remodeling. Cell migration is driven by remodeling of the dynamic actin cytoskeleton. This is coupled to upstream signaling events driven by receptor signaling and interactions with the extracellular matrix. Signaling through the small GTPases Rac, Cdc42 and Rho leads to changes in actin dynamics. Dr. Razidlo and her lab team are investigating how these pathways are aberrantly activated in pancreatic cancer, leading to increased invasive migration.
  • Signals from the tumor microenvironment. The complex tumor microenvironment provides cues that signal to tumor cells and promote tumor growth and metastasis. Dr. Razidlo is particularly interested in how both inflammation and excess lipids contribute to metastasis. First, inflammation is a risk factor for pancreatic cancer development and contributes to increased tumor progression and metastasis in multiple cancer models. Our lab is studying how inflammatory signals activate the metastatic machinery. Second, invasive migration is a highly energy-intensive process and requires generation of sufficient ATP to power cytoskeletal and membrane remodeling. We're investigating the mechanisms by which tumor cells alter their metabolism to use excess lipids to drive metastasis.
  • Read more about our research.

About Dr. Razidlo

Dr. Razidlo is an assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science and an associate consultant in the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska Medical Center in the Cancer Biology Training Program and has postdoctoral training in biochemistry from the University of Nebraska Medical Center and in cell biology from Mayo Clinic. Dr. Razidlo received a bachelor's degree in chemistry from Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota.