Charlotte Kuperwasser, PhD
Associate Professor, Departments of Anatomy & Cellular Biology
Tufts University School of Medicine
Molecular Oncology Research Institute (MORI)
2013-2014 BCRF Project:
(The Saks Fifth Avenue Award)
Breast cancer is a strikingly heterogeneous disease comprising a multitude of different subtypes. Although some breast tumors resemble the cells of the normal breast, the most aggressive and deadly forms of breast cancers do not. This is surprising since Dr. Kuperwasser's previous work supported by the BCRF has shown that 99% of all breast cancers originate from a common precursor cell. This suggests that to develop aggressive types of breast cancer, normal breast cells lose important information directing them to fates that are no longer well controlled and fates that are found in normal breast tissues.
This past year, Dr. Kuperwasser's team has been studying the master orchestrators that tell a cell to be a breast cell and determine how they are corrupted during cancer formation. Accordingly, they have begun to uncover the essential master regulators in human breast cells and how they control cell fate decisions to limit life span, growth potential, and even function. This work has led to remarkable discoveries about how these master regulators when disrupted activate latent stem cell programs in breast cells and how they to the formation of aggressive breast cancers.
Dr. Charlotte Kuperwasser is an Associate Professor in the Department
of Anatomy and Cellular Biology at Tufts University School of Medicine
and an investigator at the Molecular Oncology Research Institute
(MORI) at Tufts Medical Center. She has been working in breast cancer
research since her graduate training at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where she completed her PhD in 2000.
As a Jane Coffin Child's Postdoctoral Fellow in the laboratory of
Robert Weinberg, she developed a novel humanized model to successfully
recreate normal and neoplastic human breast tissues in laboratory models. In addition, she also developed another novel humanized model of human
breast cancer metastasis to human bone.
Dr. Kuperwasser is a nationally recognized expert in breast cancer
research, xenograft laboratory models, and the tissue microenviroment.
Dr. Kuperwasser has received several awards including the COG/Aventis
Young Investigator Award, the Raymond & Beverly Sackler Award, and the
Natalie V. Zucker Award