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From a molecular point of view: Cell adhesion, signaling pathways and cancer

Welcome to Biomed Bites, a weekly feature that introduces readers to some of Stanford's most innovative biomedical researchers. 

To develop treatments capable of combatting metastatic cancers, or those that invade new tissue, researchers need to understand exactly how cells physically bind together. This process, called adhesion, goes haywire when a cancer goes on the move.

An effort to define the structural processes governing cell adhesion is just one of the projects Bill Weis, PhD, discusses in the video above. Weis chairs the Department of Structural Biology and is a professor of molecular and cellular biology. He also chairs the Department of Photon Science at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.

His team also examines a cellular signaling pathway governed by a growth factor called Wnt, which plays a key role in the development of undifferentiated cells into mature cells.

"All of these studies are from a molecular point of view. It's very basic research where we are trying to understand the chemical and physical principles of the molecules," Weis says.

Learn more about Stanford Medicine’s Biomedical Innovation Initiative and about other faculty leaders who are driving biomedical innovation here.

Previously: Liver stem cell identified in mice, 3-D structure of key signaling protein and receptor revealed and Using organic chemistry to decipher embryogenesis


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