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Overview

Williams Laboratory

Cell Signaling and Carcinogenesis

The Williams Laboratory is interested in understanding how alterations in the Wnt signaling pathway cause human disease. Wnt signaling is an evolutionarily conserved process that functions in the differentiation of most tissues within the body. Given its central role in growth and differentiation, it is not surprising that alterations in the pathway are among the most common events associated with human cancer. In addition, several other human diseases, including osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes, have been linked to altered regulation of this pathway. A specific focus of the lab’s work is characterizing the role of Wnt signaling in bone formation. Our interest is not only from the perspective of normal bone development, but also in trying to understand whether aberrant Wnt signaling plays a role in the predisposition of some common tumor types (for example, prostate, breast, lung, and renal tumors) to metastasize to and grow in bone. The long-term goal of this work is to provide insights useful in developing strategies to lessen the morbidity and mortality associated with skeletal metastasis.