BME Seminar Series (Zoom): Engineered Solutions for the Treatment and Study of Breast Cancer

Zoom (link below)
Cheryl Gomillion, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
School of Chemical, Materials, & Biomedical Engineering
University of Georgia
Gomillion Lab

Zoom: Password: 198Sem

Abstract: Breast cancer remains one of the most significant health problems worldwide. While survival rates have improved as a result of increased screening leading to earlier detection, once these tumor cells metastasize or spread to other parts of the body, survival rates are significantly reduced. These occurrences are even more detrimental for patients from certain ethnic groups, as disparities in breast cancer patient outcomes, often attributed to their specific cancer subtype and patient ethnicity, exist. For example, in the case of triple negative breast cancer (TNBC), a highly aggressive and often metastatic subtype, earlier onset and prevalence of more aggressive breast cancers like TNBC has contributed to increased mortality rates in African-American breast cancer patients.

Numerous factors are known to affect breast cancer tumorigenesis, proliferation and metastasis; however, it is still not fully understood what role biophysical and biochemical cues from the mammary microenvironment play in these processes, or how genetic factors may be intertwined. The primary focus of our work is the application of biomaterials-based and engineered model approaches for treatment and study of breast cancer. In particular, we have aimed to identify potential modalities for delivery of anti-cancer therapies for treatment of TNBC. In addition, we have applied in vitro modeling approaches for better understanding contributors to cancer cell metastasis, with a specific focus on the role of the extracellular matrix (ECM) and adipose-secreted factors. This talk will highlight studies performed toward our long-term goal of developing strategies and tools for improved health outcomes for people with breast cancer.

Bio: Cheryl Gomillion is assistant professor in the School of Chemical, Materials, & Biomedical Engineering, part of the College of Engineering at the University of Georgia (UGA). She received her B.S. in biosystems engineering with an emphasis in applied biotechnology from Clemson University, and she completed both her master’s and Ph.D. in bioengineering at Clemson University. In 2011, she transitioned to the University of Connecticut Health Center (UCHC) for a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Reconstructive Sciences, and following the completion of her fellowship at UCHC, Gomillion transitioned to a postdoctoral associate position at Yale University School of Medicine in the Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery in 2014.

Gomillion joined the faculty at UGA in 2015. Her long-standing research interests are in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. Specifically, the work of her research group focuses on three general areas: (1) design and evaluation of biomaterials for therapeutic purposes; (2) application of materials for engineering tissue systems; and (3) advanced engineering strategies for developing in vitro models and culture systems. Gomillion was recently awarded an NSF Career Award in 2022 to support her research, education and outreach efforts.

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