Pugacheva Laboratory


Elena Pugacheva, and lab members in white coats.

The Pugacheva laboratory seeks to decipher the mechanisms of tumor progression and metastasis, with a particular focus on the role of the NEDD9/AURKA signaling. NEDD9 is involved in the coordination of migration, attachment, and division of normal and cancer cells. Aurora kinase family are the key regulators of mitosis and HDAC6 - major deacetylase which governs cell invasion. Our goal is to identify new targets and develop new treatments against metastatic breast cancers and glioblastoma and thus, reduce cancer mortality. Despite significant progress in treatment options, the cure for metastatic breast cancer still remains elusive, and thus, it is clear that novel treatment strategies based on the specific pathobiology and sensitivity of metastases are required. In addition to strong interest in breast cancer metastasis our laboratory studies role of primary cilium in gliomagenesis and progression to GBM in collaboration multiple laboratories across US and some at WVU. To facilitate the drug discovery/evaluation program our laboratory laid foundation for development of metastatic patient-derived xenografts collection at WVU Cancer Institute in collaboration with multiple clinicians within Breast Cancer Program (BCP).

This work is supported by the NIH/NCI, Komen Foundation, NIH/NIGMS, WVCTSI, WVU Foundation. All investigations include the efforts of research assistants, a postdoctoral fellows, predoctoral students (CCB Program, WVU Biochemistry Program), and students from the undergraduate Biology Honors Program and represent collaborations with clinical colleagues (Dr.Hazard, Dr.Salkeni, Dr.Smolkin) in the Breast Cancer Program, Mechanisms Of Metastasis And Therapeutic Response Program (MMTR).