The Provenzano laboratory is part of the Department of Biomedical Engineering and the Masonic Cancer Center at the University of Minnesota. In addition, Dr. Provenzano is a full member of the Stem Cell Institute faculty and a member of the Institute for Engineering in Medicine. Collectivity, these interactions provide critical support to our research program and represent a scientifically robust community that fuels our interdisciplinary research aimed at elucidating the physical and molecular mechanisms that drive cancer and developing novel diagnostics and therapeutic interventions.
The microenvironment surrounding carcinoma cells influences cell behavior through complex interactions of biochemical factors, matrix architecture and matrix mechanical properties. Our research focuses on understanding the physical and molecular mechanisms by which the stromal extracellular matrix and stromal cell populations influence epithelial cell behavior in cancer. We are particular interested in how these factors influence disease progression and resistance to therapeutic intervention in breast and pancreas cancer. We utilize advanced quantitative imaging, cell and matrix mechanics, tissue engineered 3D microenvironments as well as cell and molecular biology techniques to gain a quantitative understanding of cancer cell behavior and develop novel technologies and therapeutic strategies for cancer diagnosis and treatment.