MGH Research Scholar Andrea McClatchey, PhD, conducts basic and preclinical studies of several major forms of cancer using complementary molecular, cell biological and in vivo approaches.

Fundamental insight into the junction of Neurofibromatosis II protein

Andrea McClatchey, PhD
Patricia and Scott Eston MGH Research Scholar 2011-2016
Investigator, Center for Cancer Research
Professor of Pathology, Harvard Medical School

The overarching goal of my laboratory is to understand how the organization of protein complexes at the cell cortex contributes to morphogenesis and tumorigenesis.

This stems from a longstanding dedication to elucidating the molecular basis of neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2), a familial cancer syndrome that is caused by mutation of the NF2 tumor suppressor gene.

The NF2-encoded protein Merlin is closely related to the ERM proteins (Ezrin, Radixin and Moesin) that link membrane proteins to the cortical cytoskeleton and is therefore a completely novel type of tumor suppressor.

The proximal goal of my work is to delineate the molecular function of Merlin and identify therapeutic targets for NF2.

My work has much broader implications for fundamental aspects of basic and cancer cell biology.