Human Biology Division, Fred Hutch
Dr. Taran Gujral is a systems biologist who takes a big-picture, multidisciplinary approach to studies of cell-cell interactions. He investigates both tumor cells and their microenvironment — the noncancerous cells that surround them. Interactions among the cancerous and noncancerous cells in a tumor influence how well it grows, spreads and resists treatment. Dr. Gujral is looking inside and outside tumor cells to discover the molecular programs initiated by these interactions. He is developing methods to preserve the 3D structure of a tumor in the lab so that he can examine how tumor architecture affects cancer cell behavior. Dr .Gujral also works to develop better ways to screen potential cancer drugs.
Affiliate Assistant Professor
University of Washington (Pharmacology)
Immunotherapy Research Center
Noncanonical Wnt signaling pathway. Dr. Gujral’s lab explores how this pathway contributes to changes in cell state that contribute to fibrosis and cancer. In both diseases, this pathway triggers a switch to a proliferative, pro-inflammatory, and motile state. The lab seeks to define the molecular signaling events downstream of Wnt5-Fzd2 in this process in cell culture and in mouse models, using a combination of genetic and pharmacological approaches.
Signaling in the Tissue Microenvironment. Investigating cellular interactions within the tissue microenvironment continues to be a technical challenge. Dr. Gujral’s lab has optimized procedures for maintaining organotypic tumor tissue preparations and is developing techniques to manipulate and monitor specific cells within the tumor microenvironment. With these tools, his lab explores how cancer cells interact with the surrounding cells and infiltrating immune cells.
Targeting Kinases with Network Pharmacology. The Gujral lab develops computational tools for evaluating the many potential clinical applications of kinase inhibitors. Kinases represent a core group of enzymes involved in most cellular responses to stimuli and represent an important target for existing therapeutics for cancer, inflammation, and other disease states. Application of these tools will yield insights into the basic biology of kinases as well as advance pharmacological exploitation of these key cellular regulators.
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