Emory School of Medicine
Melissa Gilbert-Ross received her PhD in Genetics from Stony Brook University in 2004. She then went on to complete a productive postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Cell Biology at Emory University that focused on the link between epithelial cell polarity and growth control using Drosophila tumor suppressor models. Dr. Gilbert-Ross’ postdoctoral work resulted in multiple first-author publications, 2 competitive Clinical LRP awards and a Ruth L. Kirchstein NRSA. Dr. Gilbert-Ross became an Instructor at the Winship Cancer Institute in 2012 and in 2013 was awarded an Emory University Research Committee (URC) grant to develop an independent research program.
Dr. Gilbert-Ross is ultimately interested in the molecular and cell biologic mechanisms that drive lung cancer tumor progression and metastasis. Mutations in the tumor suppressor LKB1 are present in up to 30% of patients, and collaborate with activating mutations in the Ras oncogene to produce aggressive lung tumors that are refractory to standard treatment. In order to study how KrasG12D Lkb1-mutant cells gain a metastatic advantage in the tumor microenvironment, she is applying her expertise in tissue-specific mosaic analysis to fluorescently mark KrasG12D Lkb1fl/fl mutant cells in vivo in a mouse model of NSCLC. In addition, Dr. Gilbert-Ross is combining her expertise in Drosophila genetics and her training in mammalian lung cancer biology to test the central hypothesis that LKB1 restricts metastasis via a dual role in restricting both EMT and the plasticity of cell migration: both via it’s conserved role as a master regulator of cell polarity.
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