Patricia Soucy joined the Bioengineering department at University of Louisville in 2010 as a postdoctoral associate and then accepted an Assistant Professor position in the department in 2013. She received her B.S. in biomedical engineering from Saint Louis University and her PhD in biomedical engineering from Johns Hopkins University in 2010.
- Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering, Johns Hopkins University, 2010
- B.S. in Biomedical Engineering, Saint Louis University, 2003
Poor survival rates from lung cancer can largely be attributed to metastatic cells that invade and spread throughout the body. The tumor microenvironment (TME) is composed of multiple cell types, as well as non-cellular components. The TME plays a critical role in the development of metastatic cancers by providing migratory cues and changing the properties of the tumor cells. The Extracellular Matrix (ECM), a main component of the TME, has been shown to change composition during tumor progression, contributing to cancer cell invasion and survival away from the primary cancer site. Although the ECM is well-known to influence the fate of tumor progression, little is known about the molecular mechanisms that are affected by the cancer cell-ECM interactions. It is imperative that these mechanisms are elucidated in order to properly understand and prevent lung cancer dissemination. However, common in vitro studies do not incorporate these interactions into everyday cell culture assays. We have adopted a model that examines decellularized human fibroblast-derived ECM as a 3-dimensional substrate for growth of lung adenocarcinoma cell lines. Here, we have characterized the effect of fibroblast-derived matrices on the properties of various lung-derived epithelial cell lines, including cancerous and non-transformed cells. This work highlights the significance of the cell-ECM interaction and its requirement for incorporation into in vitro experiments. Implementation of a fibroblast-derived ECM as an in vitro technique will provide researchers with an important factor to manipulate to better recreate and study the TME.