Justin Lathia, PhD

Associate Staff

Lerner Research Institute
9500 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, Ohio 44195
Location:NN1-25A
lathiaj@ccf.org
Phone: (216) 445-7475
Fax: (216) 444-9404



Our two main areas of interest involve using in vivo imaging models to interrogate the tumor microenvironment and examining communication mechanisms used by cancer stem cell to promote their maintenance. Currently our work is focused on malignant brain tumors but our technology and interests are applicable to many other tumor types.

In vivo imaging
To achieve this goal, we rely mainly on in vivo two photon laser scanning microscopy. We have models in which we transplant labeled human brain tumor cells and can watch tumor development in real time. We can also evaluate tumor cell behavior in slice cultures, which allows us to evaluate the molecular contribution of the microenvironment and more appropriately model the human tumor microenvironment. We are in the process of adapting a currently used brain tumor model to be more amendable to in vivo imaging. We also have active collaborations imaging neuroinflammatory processes.

Communication mechanisms
Cells are driven by two main cues an intrinsic and extrinsic program. Within the extrinsic programs, we are interested in how tumor cells interact with one another and the specialized extracellular matrix present in the tumor microenvironment. These interactions drive stem cell maintenance and may represent a new therapeutic angle for tumors.

In other words ...

Cancer is a disease defined by complexity and it has recently been appreciated that many lethal tumors contain a high degree of cellular heterogeneity. Moreover, tumor cells are organized in a cellular hierarchy, with a cancer stem cell at the apex. Cancer stem cells have been characterized in a variety of cancers, including malignant brain tumors, and have been shown to be responsible for tumor formation and therapeutic resistance. Our main interest is how cancer stem cells from malignant brain tumors interact with their surrounding microenvironment, which provides signals to preserve the malignancy of these cells.  Specifically, we are interested in cell to cell communication mechanisms as these will help better define the biology of this population and may serve as potent therapies. To fully appreciate cancer stem cell interactions in the appropriate microenvironment, we are developing imaging models to study the communication in real time.


Tyler  Alban

Tyler Alban

Graduate Student

Location:NB1-25
Phone:(216) 445-7632
albant@ccf.org

Defne  Bayik PhD

Defne Bayik PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow

Location:NN1-25
Phone:(216) 445-7632
watsond3@ccf.org
Fax:(216) 444-9404

Anastasia  Chumakova MD

Anastasia Chumakova MD

Fellow

Location:NN1-25
Phone:(216) 445-7632
chumaka@ccf.org
Fax:(216) 444-9404

James  Hale PhD

James Hale PhD

Fellow

Location:NN1-25
Phone:(216) 445-7632
halej2@ccf.org
Fax:(216) 444-9404

Erin Elizabeth Mulkearns-Hubert PhD

Erin Elizabeth Mulkearns-Hubert PhD

Fellow

Location:NN1-025
Phone:(216) 445-7632
mulkeae@ccf.org
Fax:(216) 444-9404

Danny  Orabi M.D.

Danny Orabi M.D.

PRISM Student

Location:NN1-25
Phone:(216) 445-7632
orabid@ccf.org
Fax:(216) 444-9404

Natalia  Pokaleva

Natalia Pokaleva

Research Student

Location:NN1-25
Phone:(216) 445-7632
pokalen@ccf.org
Fax:(216) 444-9404

Gustavo  Roversi

Gustavo Roversi

Research Student

Location:NN1-25
Phone:(216) 445-7632
roversf@ccf.org
Fax:(216) 444-9404

Daniel  Silver PhD

Daniel Silver PhD

Fellow

Location:NN1-125
Phone:(216) 445-7632
silverd2@ccf.org
Fax:(216) 444-9404

Maksim  Sinyuk

Maksim Sinyuk

Graduate Student

Location:NE3-
Phone:(216) 445-7632
sinyukm@ccf.org
Fax:(216) 444-9404

Katie  Troike

Katie Troike

Graduate Student

Location:NN1-25
Phone:(216) 445-7632
troikek@ccf.org
Fax:(216) 444-9404

Soumya  Turaga

Soumya Turaga

Graduate Student

Location:NN1-25
Phone:(216) 445-7632
turagas@ccf.org
Fax:(216) 444-9404


1.        Lathia JD, Gallagher J, Myers JT, Vasanji A, McLendon RE, Hjelmeland AB, Huang AY, Rich JN, Direct in vivo evidence for tumor propagation by cancer stem cells,  PLoS One 2011, Sept 22

2.        Lathia JD, Heddleston JM, Venere M, Rich JN, Deadly teamwork: neural cancer stem cells and the tumor microenvironment, Cell Stem Cell 2011, 8(5):482-85

3.        Lathia JD, Gallagher J, Heddleston JM, Wang J, Eyler CE, MacSwords J, Wu Q, Vasanji A, McLendon RE, Hjelmeland AB, Rich JN, Integrin alpha 6 regulates brain tumor stem cells, Cell Stem Cell 2010, 6(5):421-32