As a cell biologist, I am interested in cytoskeletal dynamics and signaling pathways involved with cell adhesion and migration, and how alterations in these processes lead to disease. For example, many individuals with colon cancer have mutations in the Adenomatous Polyposis Coli (APC) gene, which affects cell adhesion and migration and ultimately results in tumor formation and metastasis. Patients with diabetes have altered signaling pathways that result in tissue injury. Using cells cultured in the lab, we can manipulate the genetic and/or physical environment of the cells to mimic the conditions they would experience in patients with these conditions and then study specific parts of signaling pathways that are altered by these conditions. Undergraduate students who participate in these projects become independent in the research laboratory and are exposed to basic laboratory skills as well as more advanced techniques such as cell culture and sterile technique, microscopy, gel electrophoresis and Western immunoblotting.