Current Projects

  • Main line of investigation: Cell Survival and Wound Healing

    Acute tissue injury disrupts cellular connections to the extracellular matrix.  This induces complex intracellular signaling that involves mitochondrial damage, the elevation of reactive oxygen species and increased zinc trafficking.  Our goal is to: 1. better understand the extent metallothioneins are involved in one or more of these processes 2. develop ancillary treatments that may improve wound repair and regeneration, during envenomation tissue injury.

    As a part of this investigation we have developed a new agarose based assay that will allow microscopic examination of injury formation in endothelial cellular monolayers.

    huvec zinc venom

    Time lapse movie:  Endothelial monolayer retraction in response to venom stimulation.  Fluorescent images of endothelial cells preloaded with zinc fluorescent probe, FluoZin-3AM.

  • Collaborative efforts: Breast Cancer Community Cell Migration  Project

    We have partnered with the Department of Mechanical Engineering at KSU (Dr. Yizeng Li laboratory) to better understand how confined cell migration influences cancer metastasis. Our goal is to develop microfluidic devices that will vertically confine breast cancer cells to mimic microtumor environments.  Our team will use experimental and theoretical modeling to better predict environmental factors that may contribute to more aggressive forms of cancer.