By Theresa Valenzuela, UTEP

As a Harvard graduate receiving her Ph.D. in Cell & Developmental Biology and also formerly working at MD Anderson Cancer Center, Dr. Charlotte Vines, who is currently an Assistant Professor for the Border Biomedical Research Center and the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), has a lot of experience in the field of cancer biology. Her background in molecular biology, cell biology, and tumor biology, as well as publications of her research, has prepared Dr. Vines to study the regulation of CCR7-mediated tumor responses in selected murine models.

Charlotte Vines, Ph.D.

Dr. Vines is frequently analyzing models used to understand how CCR7 affects the movement of breast cancer cells and T cell acute lymphocytic leukemia cells. With this important research Dr. Vines hopes to “discover the signaling pathways via CCR7 controlling the expression of the sphingosine 1 phosphate 1 receptor that will be instrumental in defining therapies that can be used to treat pediatric T cell, acute lymphocytic leukemia.”

One of Dr. Vines’ most significant accomplishments as a scientist has been the development of a breast cancer metastasis model that was adapted from an existing model, in collaboration with Dr. Ming Zhang at the Feinberg School of Medicine, of Northwestern University.

She anticipates that her research will lead to a better understanding the role of CCR7 (+) breast tumor metastasis to the lymph nodes, and how oncologists treat these tumors. Dr. Vines’ collaboration with Dr. Ioannis Aifantis at the New York University School of Medicine has led to their acquisition of a model of pediatric T cell, acute lymphocytic leukemia.

Dr. Robert Kirken, Dean of the UTEP College of Science states, “Dr. Vines is an accomplished cancer researcher who brings real value to our program at UTEP with her knowledge and expertise. She is also an outstanding mentor for students and faculty who have an interest in hematopoietic cancers. RTRN scientists with similar research interests should contact her about collaborations, as she is actively seeking to broaden her scope of work with other RCMI scientists.”

With Dr. Vines coming back to her native El Paso, she brings her collaborations stemming in laboratories from Boston, Chicago and Irvine on breast cancer studies. In addition, she collaborates with laboratories in Kansas, New York and at UTEP with Dr. Arshad Khan, Dr. Jeremy Ross and Dr. Robert Kirken, on studies involving the roles of CCR7 and the movement of cells into the brain.