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Andries Zijlstra's Biography

Andries Zijlstra, Associate Professor of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology, Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center

The experimental focus of my laboratory is on understanding the modifications of cell adhesion mechanisms that promote tumor progression and defining their clinical relevance. We have two decades of experience using in vitro and in vivo pre-clinical models of oncology and work closely with physicians to frame experiments within a clinically relevant context. Specific projects within the laboratory include: a) structure-function analysis of Activated Leukocyte Cell Adhesion Molecule (ALCAM) and the tetraspanin CD151 in the context of cell adhesion and migration, b) the biogenesis of extracellular vesicles (EVs) and their contribution to cell motility and c) developing biomarkers of malignant progression in urogenital cancers using molecular indicators of cell motility. The latter makes use of high density multiplexing in tissues and liquid biopsy-style approaches for proteins and EVs in plasma and/or urine from cancer patients and deploys computational strategies (i.e. dimensional reduction) we developed to accomplish histological detection of pathological mechanisms in patient specimens. We leverage correlations between clinical specimens and experimental models to understand how specific molecular processes define the outcome of our cancer patients. My laboratory has been fortunate to collaborate with Drs. Di Vizio and Irish to establish a novel flowcytometry method that deconvolves the complexity of EV populations in biological fluids. Our publication record demonstrates our expertise in investigating molecular mechanisms of motility ranging from cell adhesion and matrix deposition to nuclear membrane instability and EV biogenesis.

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