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We believe that addressing fundamental questions in Biology requires the collaborative work of scientists from diverse backgrounds. In my lab we combine experimental and theoretical approaches to tackle open questions in evolution, cell regulation and network structure. We welcome collaboration with other group from diverse fields and are establishing a open access maker-space to help other labs with a “hacker” mentality interested in engineer their own experimental platforms. Reseach in my lab focuses on two central themes:
The human microbiome emerges as a major player in cancer biology. Groundbreaking studies in recent years uncovered clinically relevant associations between human microbiota and therapy success, and have identified mechanisms facilitating these interactions. Recent research of patient tumors revealed that many tumors harbor their own microbiome. These exciting findings lead to the appreciation that personalized cancer treatment should be tailored by the genetic makeup of both tumor and the microbiome. Our research of the tumor-microbiome is not anthropo-centric but microbial-centric, and aims to understand how do bacteria within tumors adapt to this unique microenvironment. We are investigating these evolutionary questions in diverse experimental systems and using both model bacterial lab species and clinical isolates cultured directly from tumors.
Cellular response to dynamics stimulation
We are investigaging the response of cellular networks to changing environments in health and disease. While the structure of regulatory pathways is studied extensively, far less is known about network re-organization under time-varying stimuli. Yet this under-explored dimension has broad implications – time-variant stimuli can culminate in extreme outcomes, from detrimental signaling catastrophes to anticipatory stress responses. We combine experimental and theoretical approaches to dissect network functionality and uncover its unique points of failure. We aim to exploit the network structure to therapeutically target subpopulations of diseased cells within a healthy host.
Updated information can be found at the Mitchell lab website
We are looking for rotation students to visit our lab and participate in one of our ongoing research projects. Different aspects of the projects require different toolsets ranging from experimental biology to quantitative biology and mathematical modeling. Rotation students will have a chance to acquire new skill-sets and develop expertise required for implementing a quantitative approach for understanding cell regulation, signaling and evolution. Interested students should email Amir directly and briefly describe their academic background, future plans and interest in the lab.
Current rotation projects:
- Investigating bacterial response to host-targeted drugs: As part of our research into the tumor-microbiome (tumor assosiated bacteria), we are testing how bacterial growth is inhibited by cytotoxic drugs that target cancer cells. Rotation students will run genetic screens in bacteria to identify bacterial toxicity and resistance mechanisms. In addition the students will test if bacteria can rapidly become drug resistance by evolutionary adaptation.
- Monitoring recovery dynamcis of melanoma cells in response to targeted therapy: The project involves examining and quantifying different aspects of cell behavior, population dynamics and adaptive resistance to targeted therapy. Rotation students will examine cellular behavior of established cell-lines and will clone and engineer new live-cell reporters for microscopy based assays.
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