Damon Runyon Researchers

Meet Our Scientists
Summer L. Gibbs, PhD

Understanding molecular function in biological settings is essential for successful development of targeted therapies for cancer. Advances in biochemical profiling techniques have generated lists of molecules involved in cancer development and progression, but the mechanisms by which these molecules work together within cells and tumors remain largely unclear. Molecularly targeted cancer therapeutics based on incomplete understanding of the tumorigenic mechanisms often demonstrate initial response followed by cancer resistance.

Drs. Gibbs and Nan, both biochemical engineers, will work as a team to address this problem using a revolutionary high-resolution microscopy technique to visualize-at the molecular level-the interactions of an array of proteins involved in the HER2 cell signaling pathway implicated in breast cancer within tumor cells, and their response to therapeutic agents such as Herceptin. They anticipate the findings of this work will significantly improve our understanding of the spatial and temporal organization of cancer cell signaling, enabling development of more effective targeted cancer therapeutics with lasting response.

Project title: "Studying spatial regulation of HER2 tumorigenesis with multispectral super resolution microscopy (MSSRM)"
Institution: Oregon Health & Science University
Award Program: Innovator
Cancer Type: Breast
Research Area: Imaging