Dr. Barry M Gumbiner
Research Interests: Cell Adhesion and Morphogenesis; Wnt Signaling; Cadherins and Catenins; Development and Cancer; The roles of cadherins and catenins in cell-cell interactions, tumor growth and metastasis. Our current research focuses on understanding the complex process that governs how cells adhere to each other. This process tells cells when to bind tightly together – and when to let go and move around – so they can either maintain the tissue structure or remodel and reshape it. We are unraveling how this process is regulated and controlled by specialized adhesive proteins on the surface of the cell called cadherins. For example, we made key discoveries about how proteins inside the cell – called catenins – control the cadherins in response to signals from the environment. Together these proteins help the cells shape the architecture of tissues and organs. Our discoveries in these areas help scientists understand not only how tissues and organs develop normally, but also how birth defects or diseases arise when adhesion malfunctions. Strong loss of adhesion allows tumor cells to escape into other parts of the body to cause metastases. Subtler adhesion defects can lead to leaks in barriers formed by tissues, such as the linings of the gut and lungs that control whether immune cells can enter an organ and attack microbes that live there. Such defects can contribute to the development of inflammatory diseases and sepsis.
Lab MembershipsGumbiner Lab (Principal Investigator/Director)