Research

Welcome to the Dudley lab at UNC Chapel Hill!

Our lab is focused on the tumor microenvironment and tumor neovascularization. Solid tumors resemble dysfunctional “organs” complete with their own vascular network that supplies blood, oxygen, and nutrients. Tumor vessels also form conduits for the dissemination of tumor cells throughout the body. Thus, some cancers may be reversible or made dormant by specific elimination of the blood vessels feeding them (anti-angiogenic therapy). Generally, three “ingredients” are needed to make a tumor blood vessel: endothelial cells form lumens, mesenchymal cells form perivascular cells and hematopoietic cells guide and unite nascent vessel sprouts. Some of these vascular-forming cells are conscripted by tumors from nearby tissue and some are from bone marrow. Our lab seeks to understand how these different cell types coalesce to form new tumor blood vessels and how abnormalities in the tumor vasculature contributes to tumor progression, responses to therapy, and metastasis.