Metabolic Regulation of Cell Fate Decisions

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Friday, May 22, 2020 -
2:00pm to 3:00pm
Lydia Finley


Assistant Member, Cell Biology Program
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Metabolic Regulation of Cell Fate Decisions


Increasing evidence demonstrates that intracellular metabolic pathways can be critical drivers of tumor progression. Metabolites provide the biomass required for cancer cell proliferation and contribute to antioxidant defenses that promote survival and metastatic dissemination. Moreover, oncogenic mutations in several metabolic enzymes lead to accumulation of pathological levels of metabolites that interfere with histone and DNA demethylation and impose a block to differentiation. However, absent these specific mutations, whether the metabolic profile of cancer cells contributes to the establishment or maintenance of malignant cell identity remains poorly understood. Combining in vitro culture of cancer cells with mouse models of tumor progression, we define the metabolic changes driven by common oncogenes and tumor suppressors and elucidate how these metabolic alterations affect cancer-associated phenotypes. In particular, we focus on how metabolic alterations influence regulation of the chromatin landscape and expression of differentiation programs that antagonize tumor progression. These studies provide insight into the metabolic mechanisms through which tumor cells evade differentiation and sustain malignancy. 


Lydia Finley is an Assistant Member in the Cell Biology Program at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Dr. Finley received her BS summa cum laude from Yale University and completed her PhD in the laboratory of Dr. Marcia Haigis at Harvard Medical School. As a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Craig Thompson at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Dr. Finley identified metabolites that contribute to the regulation of stem cell self-renewal. Her laboratory investigates the mechanisms that link metabolic pathways to cell fate decisions. She is a Searle Scholar and the recipient of the Dale F. Frey Award for Breakthrough Scientists from the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation.