Ryan S. Brandenberg

Dr. Bojana Gligorijevic was recently awarded a $700K grant from the Department of Defense as part of their Breast Cancer Research Program. 

Gligorijevic plays many roles at Temple University, with her primary appointment being an Associate Professor of Bioengineering for the College of Engineering and the Principal Investigator of the Cancer Microscopy and Mechanobiology lab. She is also affiliated with Fels Cancer Institute for Personalized Medicine at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine and the Fox Chase Cancer Center, where she Co-directs Biological Imaging Facility. The grant from the Department of Defense will allow Gligorijevic and her lab to apply new imaging tools towards investigating the role of sensory neurons on breast cancer metastasis. 

"The breast is full of connective tissue," explains Gligorijevic. Throughout the progression of breast cancer, the connective tissue changes in composition and becomes stiff. The sensory nerves of the breast then respond in a multitude of ways to the change in stiffness. Gligorijevic's lab will investigate how this then affects breast cancer metastasis.  

This research will aid the overall breast cancer research field in two ways. Gligorijevic states "This will help us with markers of progression of tumors," which will assist with diagnosis. The second is in more targeted treatments, with the overall goal "to increase survival and reduce mortality," she explains. 

The funds from this three-year grant will help Gligorijevic to grow her multi-disciplinary lab. Previous lab members have included undergraduate students from various departments including Temple Bioengineering, Mechanical Engineering, Biology, Neuroscience, Biochemistry and chemistry. The lab also hosts Bioengineering graduate students and postdoctoral fellows with specialties in fields such as cancer biology, mechanobiology and mechanical engineering, and collaborates with researchers from Fox Chase Cancer Center, including Edna Cukierman, from Medical School, including George Smith, and Biology Department, including Anna Moore. 

Much like her roles at Temple, Gligorijevic's research will take place across three of Temple's campuses including the College of Engineering and CST, the Lewis Katz School of Medicine and the Fox Chase Cancer Center. 

The College of Engineering looks forward to sharing more updates on Gligorijevic's research for the Department of Defense in the future.