Professional Education

  • Master of Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2008)
  • Bachelor of Science, Tufts University (2006)
  • Doctor of Philosophy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2013)

Stanford Advisors


All Publications

  • Aberrant Glycosylation Promotes Lung Cancer Metastasis through Adhesion to Galectins in the Metastatic Niche CANCER DISCOVERY Reticker-Flynn, N. E., Bhatia, S. N. 2015; 5 (2): 168-181


    Metastasis is the leading cause of cancer-associated deaths. Although dissemination of tumor cells likely occurs early in tumorigenesis, the constituents of the microenvironment play essential rate-limiting roles in determining whether these cells will form clinically relevant tumors. Recent studies have uncovered many molecular factors that contribute to the establishment of a protumorigenic metastatic niche. Here, we demonstrate that galectin-3, whose expression has clinical associations with advanced malignancy and poor outcome, contributes to metastatic niche formation by binding to carbohydrates on metastatic cells. We show that galectin-3 is expressed early during tumorigenesis by both CD11b(+)Gr-1(+) and CD11b(+)Ly-6C(hi) leukocytes. Tumors mobilize these myeloid populations through secretion of soluble factors, including IL6. We find that metastatic cancer cells exhibit elevated presentation of the oncofetal galectin-3 carbohydrate ligand, the Thomsen-Friedenreich antigen, on their surfaces as a result of altered C2GnT2 and St6GalNAc4 glycosyltransferase activity that inhibits further glycosylation of this carbohydrate motif and promotes metastasis.Although clinical observations of elevated serum galectin-3 levels and altered glycosylation have been associated with malignancy, we identify novel roles for glycosyltransferases in promoting adhesion to galectins in the metastatic niche. This identification of a cytokine-leukocyte-glycosylation axis in metastasis provides mechanistic explanations for clinical associations between malignancy and aberrant glycosylation.

    View details for DOI 10.1158/2159-8290.CD-13-0760

    View details for Web of Science ID 000349393600025

    View details for PubMedID 25421439

  • A combinatorial extracellular matrix platform identifies cell-extracellular matrix interactions that correlate with metastasis NATURE COMMUNICATIONS Reticker-Flynn, N. E., Malta, D. F., Winslow, M. M., Lamar, J. M., Xu, M. J., Underhill, G. H., Hynes, R. O., Jacks, T. E., Bhatia, S. N. 2012; 3


    Extracellular matrix interactions have essential roles in normal physiology and many pathological processes. Although the importance of extracellular matrix interactions in metastasis is well documented, systematic approaches to identify their roles in distinct stages of tumorigenesis have not been described. Here we report a novel-screening platform capable of measuring phenotypic responses to combinations of extracellular matrix molecules. Using a genetic mouse model of lung adenocarcinoma, we measure the extracellular matrix-dependent adhesion of tumour-derived cells. Hierarchical clustering of the adhesion profiles differentiates metastatic cell lines from primary tumour lines. Furthermore, we uncovered that metastatic cells selectively associate with fibronectin when in combination with galectin-3, galectin-8 or laminin. We show that these molecules correlate with human disease and that their interactions are mediated in part by ?3?1 integrin. Thus, our platform allowed us to interrogate interactions between metastatic cells and their microenvironments, and identified extracellular matrix and integrin interactions that could serve as therapeutic targets.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/ncomms2128

    View details for Web of Science ID 000313514100032

    View details for PubMedID 23047680

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