Selma Masri, Ph.D.
The Masri lab is aimed at understanding how disruption of circadian rhythms results in tumor initiation and progression. The circadian clock is our biological pacemaker that governs immune, endocrine, metabolic, and behavioral rhythms within a 24-hour period, and disruptions of these biological rhythms results in detrimental diseases including cancer. The Masri lab is defining the molecular mechanism of how genetic and environmental disruption of the circadian clock alters tumorigenesis. We are interested in how the circadian clock regulates intestinal stem cell survival, proliferation, metabolism, and properties that govern tumor immunity. These research questions are being addressed using a novel genetically engineered mouse model (GEMM) of colorectal cancer (developed by the Masri lab) and intestinal organoid cultures where we defined how clock disruption regulates Wnt/b-Catenin signaling (Chun, Fortin, Fellows et al.). The broader impact of this work extends beyond colorectal cancer to define how the circadian clock modulates key signaling pathways that have critical implications in immunity, metabolism, stemness, and proliferation.