Project 1: "Cytoskeletal Signaling Pathways in Invadopodia Regulation"
Breaching the basement membrane is a key step in carcinoma cell invasion.
Project 2: "Animal Models of Oral Cancer Invasion"
Tissue-specific orthotopic models of HNSCC have been challenging to produce due to a number of factors, including shared tissue specificity with the epithelium in the integument and esophagus, as well as the unique difficulties of studying tumor progression within the craniofacial region in live animals.
Project 3: "In Vivo Imaging of Oral Cancer Progression"
Visualization of the initial steps of HNSCC invasion will greatly aid in understanding the shared and unique steps this particular tumor type undertakes during the metastatic cascade.
Project 4: "Evaluating the Impact of Appalachian Health Risk Factors on Oral Cancer"
Individuals residing in West Virginia and other Appalachian areas face many unique health challenges due to endemic and environmental conditions associated with socio-behavioral and geological parameters inherent to the region.