Network analysis of the effect of hypoxia and nutrient deprivation on motility and metabolic switching of cancer cells

Year of award: 2017


  • Dr Giovanni Stracquadanio

    University of Essex

Project summary

A hallmark of cancer is the process of metabolic reprogramming, which supports the uncontrolled growth and proliferation of tumours. Metabolic changes support tumour growth under various conditions, including limited oxygen and nutrient supply. While the latter seems to increase motility and metastatic spread, the former induces angiogenesis, which can improve the delivery of metabolites. Unfortunately, anti-angiogenic therapies have limited success in targeting this metabolic adaptation. An alternative approach would be to induce tumour cell apoptosis by nutrient deprivation. However, since most cellular functions are the result of complex interactions between genes and proteins, we must first identify the pathways that mediate cancer progression under limited nutrient and oxygen supply. RNA sequencing and mass spectrometry can provide gene level information, but we need effective network discovery algorithms to analyse this data at the pathway level.

I will study the transcriptome and proteome of cancer cells under limited nutrient and oxygen conditions, and develop a new network discovery algorithm to integrate this data and identify pathways that promote cancer under these stresses.