MGH Research Scholars Program
The MGH Research Scholars Program was established to support early career researchers with innovative yet unproven ideas that have the potential to transform the future of medicine. Funded 100% through philanthropy, this program gives researchers the freedom and flexibility they need to follow the science wherever it leads. History has shown that brilliant scientists who are given free rein to explore new frontiers make the greatest, often unexpected, advances.
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
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.