Basic Sciences Division, Fred Hutch
Dr. Susan Parkhurst studies the cytoskeleton, the cell’s internal framework. The cytoskeleton is a dynamic structure, constantly forming and breaking down to meet the cell’s changing needs, including changes in shape and movement. Problems with building and deconstructing the cytoskeleton arise in many human diseases. Wound healing, in which cells move to fill a gap, and the organization of the nucleus, the cell’s DNA storeroom, rely on the cytoskeleton. Dr. Parkhurst studies its roles in these normal conditions and what goes wrong in cancer cells. She aims to identify new cancer treatment targets or discover ways to make existing therapies more effective.
Affiliate Professor, Biology
University of Washington
Postdoctoral Fellow, Developmental Genetics, California Institute of Technology, 1990
Postdoctoral Fellow, Developmental Genetics, Imperial Cancer Research Fund, Oxford UK, 1986
Ph.D., Developmental Biology, Johns Hopkins University, 1985
B.A., Biology, Johns Hopkins University, 1982
A hallmark of many diseases and cancers is a dysfunctional cytoskeleton. A properly functioning cytoskeleton is needed for a wide variety of cellular events ranging from cell shape to cell signaling and migration/metastasis. We use multidisciplinary approaches to study these dynamic structural elements in various processes including wound repair and nuclear architecture/organization. The goal of the Parkhurst Lab is to understand the role of these elements in regulating normal developmental events and how this regulation goes awry in diseases/cancers, thereby providing new avenues for possible therapeutic targets or to enhance the effectiveness of existing treatment modalities.