Weiss highlight

Normal as well as neoplastic cells are surrounded by a dense, fibrillar composite of extracellular matrix molecules that not only serve as a platform for cell adhesion, but also exert complex effects on cell differentiation, fate and function. The Weiss laboratory focuses on the characterization of both the proteolytic enzymes and the transcriptional programs that control extracellular matrix remodeling during growth and development, inflammation and cancer. As the spatiotemporal regulation of proteinase expression underlies processes ranging from stem cell fate and cell invasion to branching morphogenesis, the elucidation of these fundamental processes are central to our understanding of cell behavior within the confines of the 3-dimensional extracellular matrix encountered in the in vivo setting. By applying new insights into the molecular machinery that control these programs, novel targets and therapeutics are being designed as potential interventions in chronic inflammatory diseases, obesity and cancer.