faculty and student in lab
Dr. Gligorijevic (right) in a College of Engineering lab.

Bioengineering Assistant Professor Bojana Gligorijevic recently secured a $2 million research R01 grant, provided by the National Institutes of Health-National Cancer Institute. This award will support her research in cancer cell metastasis, which is widely considered the cause for more than 90 percent of breast cancer-related deaths.

Dr. Gligorijevic has previously shown that "invadopodia"—cancer cell protrusions that degrade the connective tissue—are necessary for metastasis. For the next five years, her project will investigate how cancer cells coordinate their activities of proliferating, moving and degrading tissue via invadopodia. Toward this goal, her lab will use cancer cells grown in either microfluidic devices or mouse models and utilize multiphoton fluorescent microscopy to acquire images.

Images will be analyzed by automated cell tracking and machine learning classifications, in collaboration with the lab of Erkan Tuzel, of the Worcester Polytechnic Institute. In collaboration with Fox Chase Cancer Center, Gligorjievic will also access clinical tissue samples to investigate if invadopodia can be used to predict metastasis before it occurs.

Read more about Dr. Gligorijevic and her research interests here.