Applying Mechanistic Models to Predict the Dynamics of Cancer Signaling Pathways

Friday, March 2, 2018 -
2:00pm to 3:00pm
The FUNG Auditorium
Stacey Finley

Gordon S. Marshall Early Career Chair and Assistant Professor

Department of Biomedical Engineering

University of Southern California

Applying Mechanistic Models to Predict the Dynamics of Cancer Signaling Pathways


Systems biology approaches, including computational models, provide a framework to test biological hypotheses and optimize effective therapeutic strategies to treat human diseases. My research group has been developing mechanistic, ordinary differential equation models of signaling networks in cancer using quantitative experimental measurements. We focus on three applications: 1) Tumor angiogenesis: a computational model to predict the effects of crosstalk amongst key proteins involved in regulating angiogenesis, the formation of new blood vessels; 2) Cancer immunotherapy: a predictive model to quantitatively describe the biochemical reactions that regulate chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) mediated T cell activation required for therapeutic strategies; and 3) Cancer metabolism: a dynamic model of central metabolic pathways in pancreatic cancer cells. I will present our latest work in these areas. The goal of our modeling work is to gain insight into the dynamics and regulation of the biochemical pathways and enable the development of novel cancer therapeutics. Additionally, the models provide a framework to study cancer therapies in a range of tumor microenvironmental conditions. 


Stacey D. Finley is the Gordon S. Marshall Early Career Chair and Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Southern California. Dr. Finley joined the faculty at USC in 2013, and she leads the Computational Systems Biology Laboratory. Dr. Finley has a joint appointment in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science and is a member of the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Dr. Finley received her B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Florida A & M University and obtained her Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Northwestern University. She completed postdoctoral training at Johns Hopkins University, in the Department of Biomedical Engineering.

Dr. Finley was named a 2015 Emerging Scholar and a 2016 Keystone Symposia Fellow. Also in 2016, Dr. Finley was awarded an NSF Faculty Early CAREER Award and was selected as a Young Innovator by the Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering journal. She was invited to attend the National Academy of Engineering’s 2016 Frontiers of Engineering Symposium. In 2017, Dr. Finley was named the inaugural recipient of the Leah Edelstein-Keshet Prize from the Society of Mathematical Biology. Dr. Finley was awarded the Junior Research Award from the USC Viterbi School of Engineering and the Hanna Reisler Mentorship Award from the Women in Science and Engineering Program at USC. Most recently, Dr. Finley was selected as a 2018 NextGen Star by the American Association for Cancer Research.