Cohick, Wendie

Wendie Cohick
Rutgers University
Department of Animal Sciences
Foran Hall, Room 108
School of Biological & Environmental Sciences
New Brunswick, NJ 08903
(848) 932-6319
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Cell biology (growth factors, signal transduction, mammary gland biology)

Research in my laboratory focuses on the role of the insulin-like growth factors (IGF) in mammary gland growth and development. A specific focus is to understand the molecular and cellular mechanisms by which these growth factors regulate growth, differentiation and cell survival of mammary epithelial cells. This cell type is responsible for milk synthesis and is also a common site of origin of mammary carcinoma. The IGFs associate with a family of high-affinity binding proteins (IGFBP) which modulate their biological activity. For example we have found that IGF-I specifically stimulates the synthesis of IGF binding protein-3 by mammary epithelial cells. When these cells are transfected to overexpress this protein, they exhibit enhanced responsiveness to IGF-I in terms of DNA synthesis. We are currently investigating the mechanisms underlying this observation. Specific areas of research include:
  • regulation of IGF binding protein gene transcription
  • the role of IGF and IGF binding protein-3 in regulating growth, differentiation and apoptosis of mammary epithelial cells
  • signal transduction pathways by which IGF-I regulates growth of mammary epithelial cells and mammary fibroblasts
  • interactions between the extracellular matrix and growth factors in the mammary gland