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The Osborne Lab focuses on how regulation of miRNA and mRNA control the branching of developing cells and how disregulation of these pathways contributes to aggressive tumor behavior, especially chemoresistance and metastasis. 

Cancer stem cells (CSCs) hijack the RNA pathways normally active during embryogenesis, including those that manage energy consumption, proliferation, overcoming hypoxic conditions, and migration. CSCs differentiate and de-differentiate according to the stress of the environment, resulting in a heterogenous population of tumor cells.

As we better understand mRNA regulation during normal embryogenesis, we hope to identify fruitful biochemical targets for cancer therapies effective against heterogenous tumors.

Embryogenesis to Metastasis

In mammalian embryogenesis in mammals, LIN28 paralogs and members of the let-7 family of microRNAs, interact in a poorly understood feedback system that may also regulate stem-cell-like cancer cells.

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Branching Morphogenesis

The elaborately branched structures of some organs—lungs, kidneys, mammary glands, blood vessels—are necessary for proper function. Premature babies can suffer lifelong complications, and a better understanding of the mechanisms that govern branching morphogenesis is desperately needed.

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