Susana Gonzalo, PhD
Saint Louis University (SLU)
Our research interests are to understand how alterations of nuclear architecture and genome stability contribute to aging and cancer. We focus on the roles that structural nuclear proteins such as lamins play in telomere biology, DNA replication and repair, and on new signaling pathways deregulated in lamins-deficient cells. In addition, we are interested in the genomic instability that drives cancers with poor prognosis, such as triple negative and BRCA-mutated breast cancers. We find similar alterations in cells from these aggressive cancers and in cells from laminopathies, including deficiencies in DNA repair/replication and in vitamin D receptor (VDR) signaling. Importantly, we show that calcitriol, the most bioactive vitamin D metabolite, ameliorates genomic instability phenotypes in breast cancer cells and in lamins-deficient cells. Our long-term goal is to determine how these pathways contribute to aging and cancer, using molecular, cellular and animal models, and their potential as therapeutic targets.