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Dr. Sertil's area of expertise is in the study of stress signaling pathways and its role in promoting therapy resistance and subsequent metastasis in cancer with special emphasis on head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) and osteosarcomas. During her postdoctoral tenure, she identified that components of the stress response known as UPR/ER stress response such as the chaperone BiP/grp78 and the kinase PERK are key players involved in mediating the growth arrest and chemoresistance of dormant tumor cells. These findings have been published in several peer-reviewed journals.
As an independent investigator, the overall goal of the research in Dr. Sertil's laboratory is to not only understand how tumors cells utilize stress signals mediated particularly by hypoxia, UPR/ER and mTOR pathways to survive therapy induced cell death but also to identify targets within these pathways for future therapeutic development. The collaborations and interactions that she has established with clinicians like Dr. Hingorani, Dr. Dickman, and Dr Valentin Dinu with expertise in sarcoma and sarcoma pathology and computational analysis of gene expression respectively, will greatly complement her basic science expertise.
As a member of the NCI designated, University of Arizona Cancer Center (UACC) in Tucson in the Therapeutic Development Program, Dr. Sertil has access to the UACC Shared Resources such as their Genomics Core, Biostatisitics, and Tissue Acquisition and Cellular/Molecular Analysis that can provide additional Pathologic Analysis and Interpretation of patient specimens. In addition being a member of UACC is beneficial in forging fruitful collaborations.