Welcome to the Zijlstra Lab
Our research is primarily dedicated to understanding the molecular mechanisms of cell motility and how they contribute to the metastatic dissemination of solid tumors. For most tumor types it is the metastasis to distant organs that becomes the primary cause of cancer-related deaths. In order to metastasize, a tumor cell must become able to dissociate and leave the tissue of origin, travel across tissue barriers that designed to confine normal tissue and travel to a distant organ. Since the dysregulation of cell migration enables tumor cells to escape their tissue of origin, mechanisms of migration are both a target for therapy and an indicator of disease progression.
The laboratory investigates molecular mechanisms of adhesion and their (dys)regulation in tumor progression. We dissect their molecular mode of action and how it is altered during metastasis. Our objective is to understand how the changes in migration contribute to cancer metastasis, how they can be disrupted to prevent or treat metastasis and how we can use the detection of cell migration to identify patients at risk of developing metastatic disease.