The Quilliam lab is interested in delineating signal transduction pathways induced by growth-stimulatory factors, and in determining the mechanisms by which these pathways are aberrantly activated during the course of malignant transformation. Many of the genes that become mutated in human cancers encode for mitogenic signaling proteins. Characterization of the enzymes and protein-protein interactions involved in mitogenic signaling forms the basis for the rational design of novel anti-cancer therapeutics.
Much of the focus of Dr. Quilliam’s research is centered on Ras family GTPases and the pathways they control. Ras proteins normally act as molecular switches to relay growth stimulatory signals but become constitutively activated in many cancers, leading to uncontrolled proliferation.