Over the last two decades, research has primarily focused on understanding the functions of mutated genes in cancer, neglecting the roles of environmental factors that can induce the expression of harmful proteins and tissue damage. These factors pose ongoing challenges, and their mechanisms in causing cancer-related pathologies are largely unknown. Identifying links between environmental stress and cancer progression is crucial for uncovering disease mechanisms and therapeutic targets.

Our laboratory employs genetically engineered mouse models and advanced technologies to investigate mechanisms of diseases associated with environmental stressors. We specifically study conditions related to toxic diets, nutrient imbalances, and sedentary lifestyles, which can lead to obesity and digestive disorders. Additionally, we explore the intricate relationship between the nervous and immune systems in aggressive cancers, including metastasis, within the emerging field of cancer neuroscience.

Our particular focus lies in diseases affecting the liver (non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, cirrhosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma), intestine (colitis and colorectal cancer), and pancreas (diabetes, pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer). These organs are primarily affected by environmental stressors, including nutrient overload and lack of physical activity, that can cause severe inflammatory conditions, and their functions are interconnected and potentially regulated by the nervous system, through unknown mechanisms.

Our ultimate goal is to guide the development of novel medications, focusing on potential immunomodulatory therapies for these disorders.

These projects are funded by ...

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