Dr. McDermott is devoted to understanding how normal cellular and developmental processes are altered to contribute to tumorigenesis. Specifically, her lab is focused on elucidating the function of primary cilia in normal and cancer cells. The primary cilium is an organelle that projects from the surface of cells and functions like the cells antennae in that it senses signals in the microenviorment to relay information that controls cellular processes including proliferation, survival and cell migration. The ultimate goal of the McDermott lab is to elucidate the mechanisms by which primary cilia regulate signal transduction and use this information to design novel cancer therapeutics. The McDermott lab is also involved in designing methods for the detection of primary cilia in cancers as a novel strategy for identifying patients most likely to benefit from current targeted therapies.