Connecting campuses to promote excellence in math and science


Andrea Henle

Carthage College
Elucidating cellular events in uveal melanoma by using zebrafish
This talk will focus on how we are working to improve our understanding of one type of cancer, uveal melanoma, which forms in pigmented cells in the eye. Uveal melanoma is initially responsive to treatment; however, approximately 50% of patients develop metastatic cancer to the liver within 15 years of their primary diagnosis. Since patient samples are limited, we have developed an animal model for uveal melanoma to better understand the molecular mechanisms behind disease initiation and progression. We expressed human oncogenes, GNA11Q209L or GNAQQ209L, in zebrafish. These zebrafish have been crossed to p53M214K zebrafish to facilitate tumor onset through the presence of multiple mutations in pigmented cells. These fish show hyper-pigmentation in their skin and eyes and develop tumors as early as 6 months of age. Our current efforts focus on the characterization of the tumors and the pigmentation defects. This model has revealed new mechanisms in pigmentation development and has provided insight into disease pathogenesis and metastasis.
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