Shannon J. Odelberg, PhD
The Odelberg laboratory focuses on the role of the small GTPase ARF6 in inflammatory disease and cancer. ARF6 has been shown to play a role in both chronic and acute inflammatory diseases and conditions, including arthritis and sepsis, and in the establishment and metastasis of certain cancers, such as cutaneous and uveal melanoma. The activation of ARF6 helps drive these diverse conditions by promoting the trafficking of key signaling proteins to appropriate intracellular locations where signaling is enhanced. Blocking the function of ARF6 by gene knockout, RNA interference, or pharmacologic inhibition reduces trafficking and signaling of these key proteins and mitigates disease in animal models, thus making ARF6 a promising therapeutic target for several cancers and inflammatory conditions.
The laboratory has also focused on the cellular and molecular basis of regeneration in a type of salamander known as the newt. A newt has the remarkable ability to regenerate many organs and body structures, including its limbs, tail, heart ventricle, spinal cord, retinas, lenses, upper and lower jaws, and intestines. Studies from the laboratory have shown that a transitional extracellular matrix is formed during the early stages of regeneration and that this matrix instructs cell behaviors crucial to the regenerative response, such as cellular dedifferentiation, proliferation, and migration.