IN CONSTRUCTION! OUR LAB HAS MOVED TO THE STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK (SUNY UPSTATE MEDICAL UNIVERSITY) LOOK FOR OUR NEW WEBSITE IN A FEW DAYS!

Welcome to our lab!

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What do we do?

We study malignant brain tumors and the responses of normal cells in the brain when they interact with tumor cells. This allows us to understand how the neural microenvironment reacts to the tumor and, in fact, may help that tumor to grow and disseminate.

A major area of our research is focused on the neural extracellular matrix (ECM), which is the tissue scaffold that surrounds the normal cells in the brain and malignant cells in a brain tumor. We try to understand how changes in the ECM can lead to neural injury, tumor invasion, and defects in the development of the nervous system.

What are the applications of our research?

Many! Understanding the structure of the neural microenvironment and the mechanisms that are triggered by ECM proteins is critical to understand how neural injuries are propagated and how tumors invade in the brain. This has allowed use over time to propose strategies and develop reagents to attack and hopefully reverse these diseases.

What are our projects?

Some of the broad questions we try to answer in our lab:

– How do brain tumors change the behavior of normal brain cells to help tumor invasion?

– Can we target these invasive mechanisms? Can we manipulate the neural ECM to reach tumor cells scattered in the brain?

– Are there mechanisms triggered by ECM proteins that make tumor cells more resistant to therapies and neural damage more persistent?

– Can we develop and deliver efficient targeting reagents against ECM proteins produced by brain tumor cells?

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How do we study this?

Our lab is fully set-up to do cellular and molecular biology, tissue analysis and animal studies. Some of the techniques we use in the lab include: production and analysis of artificial tissue scaffolds, cultures of tissue biopsies and cell lines, intracranial surgery, viral design and transduction, time-lapse confocal microscopy, glycochemistry, immunochemistry, proteomics and molecular genetics.

 

 

Image: Glioma cells cultured on different matrix substrates show different morphologies that  represent reduced (left) or enhanced (right) migration (© Viapiano Lab)

 

Where are we?

The Viapiano Lab is one of the Harvey Cushing Neuro-Oncology Laboratories, established in 2012 in the Harvard Institutes of Medicine (Department of Neurosurgery, Brigham and Women’s Hospital). The HIM Building is at the core of the Harvard Medical Campus in Boston, Mass. (see the campus map here)