Outgrowth of disseminated metastases is the major cause of mortality in cancer patients. In the Taube lab, we are investigating the molecular pathways and cellular properties which enable primary tumor cells to metastasize.
In normal tissues, epithelial cells form a well-structured barrier using a variety of adhesion molecules. However, aberrant activation of a conserved cellular program, termed epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), facilitates the separation of epithelial cells from this tissue. When EMT occurs in epithelial tumors, the probability of metastatic dissemination is increased.
Our current work is focused on uncovering the regulatory mechanisms which facilitate EMT in both normal and cancerous settings, describing the specific targets and roles of these regulatory mechanisms and testing small molecule inhibitors of these proteins to ultimately lead to novel therapeutic strategies.
If you are interested in a specific project, click below on the desired project.
microRNAs in Breast Cancer
microRNAs regulate cell fate through target gene down-regulation. We have uncovered microRNAs altered by epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and in triple-negative breast cancer subtypes. Through a collaboration with leading nanoparticle researchers, we are developing and testing microRNA transfer and replacement technologies.
Histone Demethylases in Cancer Cell Plasticity
Histone modifications allow plasticity in gene expression and cellular behavior. We have demonstrated that EMT drives genome-wide changes in the histone methylation landscape, particularly at H3K27me3, a silencing signal. Manipulating the localization or activity of the enzymes that deposit and remove H3K27me3 holds the potential for reducing cellular plasticity in tumors.
Small Molecules to target Cancer Stem Cells
Cancer stem cells are intrinsically resistant to most therapies. Through a collaboration with leading synthetic chemists, we are investigating and developing compounds that selectively eliminate cancer stem cells through non-apoptotic mechanisms.
Outer Membrane Vesicles and Cancer
Outer membrane vesicles are spherical lipid vesicles that result from budding of the outer membrane of various bacteria. We are working on defining the relationship between bacterial outer membrane vesicles and the biology of colonic epithelia and cancer stem cells.
Reversible EMT and Metastasis
Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) enhances metastatic dissemination while partial EMT or reversal of EMT facilitates growth of metastases. We are investigating the factors that allow for epithelial-mesenchymal plasticity and which contribute to metastasis.
The MiniPharma group is an undergraduate-lead collaboration under the guidance of Drs. Romo (synthetic chemistry), Hull (computational chemistry), and Taube (cancer biology).
The goal of the collaboration is to provide participating undergraduates with a ‘taste’ of the pharmaceutical industry with respect to development of small molecule inhibitors as potential chemotherapeutics by focusing on early stage drug lead development. See the website for more information or to get involved!
At Baylor University, the Taube Lab consists of both undergraduate and graduate students working on a variety of projects. Click below to learn more about the people behind the research in our lab.
News and updates
Congratulations to Alysia Martinez, Undergrad and collaborator with Greathouse Lab, for her presentation and selection as a finalist at the Capital of Texas Undergraduate Research Conference!
In December, Kelsey Johnson became the second student awarded a doctoral degree for her work on the epigenetics of EMT. Congratulations Kelsey and best of luck in your future biotech career!
Keighley Reisenauer became the first Taube Lab student to defend a doctoral dissertation! Congratulations Dr. Reisenauer! What a journey!
The Taube lab is proud to announce the successful Masters defense of Shuxuan Song on 3/25/21. This completes the first MSc defense from the Taube lab and Shuxuan's work on miR-203 will pave the way for great future work. Congratulations, Shuxuan!
The Taube Lab (Joe, Keighley, Shuxuan, and Provas) plus Chemistry Grad Student and Survivor, Emily Taylor, braved the sudden snap of Waco cold weather as part of Team Taube Lab at the Waco "More Than Pink" Komen Walk 2019! This year, the initiative showcased the...
In our first meeting since our graduate student n=3, the Taube Lab traveled outside TX(!!) to Scottsdale, AZ to the Metastatic Breast Cancer conference. It was hot, but so was the science! Lots of amazing conversations between researchers, clinicians, and advocates....