Paul Campagnola, PhD
University of Wisconsin – Madison
2015 Joanie Warner Bridge Funding Award
Quantitative Assessment of the Role of Collagen Alterations in Ovarian Cancer
High grade serous ovarian cancer arises from fallopian tube cells that migrate and implant on the ovaries, then subsequently metastasize to other sites in the body. The 3-dimensional composition and architecture of the surroundings of cancer cells can determine whether the cancer cells migrate and metastasize or whether they stay put. The surroundings, called extracellular matrix (ECM), is made up of molecules secreted by cells to provide structural and biochemical support to nearby cells. Think of the ECM as scaffolding that provides the roads on which cells travel and the buildings in which cells do their work. Dr. Campagnola’s lab has developed a technique to build this scaffolding on a submicron scale to study how cancer cells move depending on their surroundings. In addition, this lab is pioneering the use of second harmonic generation (SHG) microscopy to look at ECM inside living tissues. Already SHG microcopy is able to distinguish multiple subtypes of ovarian cancer simply by identifying distinct ECM patterns. Not only will this research project investigate cancer cell metastasis, but it will also develop second harmonic generation microscopy as a diagnostic tool for ovarian cancer.