Michelle C. Mendoza, PhD

Research Interests

  • Cancer Biology
  • Cell Signaling
  • Cell Migration
  • Actin Cytoskeleton Dynamics
  • Metastasis

Labs

Lab Website

Languages

  • English

Academic Information

  • Departments: Oncological Sciences - Assistant Professor

Academic Office Information

  • 801-213-5797
  • Huntsman Cancer Institute
    2000 Circle of Hope, Room: 5344
    Salt Lake City, UT 84112

Research Statement

Research Statement

Cancer spread, or metastasis, involves improper cell movement. My research focuses on determining - at the mechanistic level - how a cell normally regulates the processes of cell movement and how this goes awry during cancer dissemination.

Academic Bio

Biography: Dr. Mendoza received her B.S. (Highest Honors) in Animal Bioscience from Pennsylvania State University in University Park, Pennsylvania in 2000. She conducted her graduate work at the University of California, San Diego with Dr. Richard A. Firtel, studying signal transduction and cell migration using the model organism Dictyostelium. She received her PhD in Biomedical Science from UCSD in 2005. She carried out postdoctoral training with cancer cell signaling expert Dr. John Blenis (funding from Susan G. Komen) and computer vision pioneer Dr. Gaudenz Danuser (K01 funding from the NCI) in the Department of Cell Biology at Harvard Medical School. She studied the molecular signals that control the actin cytoskeleton during cell movement. In 2013, Dr. Mendoza started her independent research program at the University of California, San Francisco, in the Department of Cell and Tissue Biology. In 2015, Dr. Mendoza moved her lab to join the faculty of the Department of Oncological Sciences, within the University of Utah, School of Medicine and the Huntsman Cancer Institute. She is currently Assistant Professor in Oncological Sciences. She is a member of the Cell Response and Regulation Program and the Upper Aerodigestive Tract DOT.

Research: The Mendoza lab strives to understand the molecular signals that control cell movement, with an emphasis on the RAS/ERK pathway and cancer. The lab utilizes biochemistry and quantitative imaging to address: 1) cytoskeletal dynamics during motility: How do signaling pathways contribute to the coordinated assembly and disassembly of actin and adhesion complexes during cell migration, and how is this spatiotemporal coordination altered in cancer when the signals are hyperactivated? 2) cell invasion: Does RAS/ERK signaling enable the morphological changes necessary for cell invasion through 3D collagen environments? 3) cancer progression: Are cell division and survival signals, such as oncogenic activation of RAS and RAF, important for cancer dissemination and progression and what are the key, targetable, effectors?

Current Administrative Positions: Member, University of Utah and Satellite Huntsman Cancer Institute Microscopy Cores. Member, Huntsman Cancer Institute Cancer Training and Innovation Committee.

Teaching: Dr. Mendoza teaches in the Cell Biology core course for the first year Molecular Biology graduate students and in the Department of Oncological Sciences Cancer Biology and Cancer Training 360 courses. She is mentoring 2 PhD students and 2 postdoctoral fellows.

Service: Dr. Mendoza is an ad hoc reviewer for multiple peer-reviewed scientific journals, including Science Signaling, the Journal of Cell Biology, and Oncogene.

Education History

Type School Degree
Postdoctoral Fellowship Harvard Medical School
Department of Cell Biology
Postdoctoral Fellow
Doctoral Training University of California, San Diego
Biomedical Sciences
Ph.D.
Undergraduate Pennsylvania State University
Animal Bioscience
B.S.

Selected Publications

Journal Article

  1. Mendoza MC, Vilela M, Juarez JE, Blenis J, Danuser G (2015). ERK reinforces actin polymerization to power persistent edge protrusion during motility. Sci Signal, 8(377), ra47.
  2. Er EE, Mendoza MC, Mackey AM, Rameh LE, Blenis J (2013). AKT facilitates EGFR trafficking and degradation by phosphorylating and activating PIKfyve. Sci Signal, 6(279), ra45.
  3. Zhang W, Mendoza MC, Pei X, Ilter D, Mahoney SJ, Zhang Y, Ma D, Blenis J, Wang Y (2012). Down-regulation of CMTM8 induces epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition-like changes via c-MET/extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) signaling. J Biol Chem, 287(15), 11850-8.
  4. Mendoza MC, Er EE, Zhang W, Ballif BA, Elliott HL, Danuser G, Blenis J (2011). ERK-MAPK drives lamellipodia protrusion by activating the WAVE2 regulatory complex. Mol Cell, 41(6), 661-71.
  5. Abe Y, Yoon SO, Kubota K, Mendoza MC, Gygi SP, Blenis J (2009). p90 ribosomal S6 kinase and p70 ribosomal S6 kinase link phosphorylation of the eukaryotic chaperonin containing TCP-1 to growth factor, insulin, and nutrient signaling. J Biol Chem, 284(22), 14939-48.

Review

  1. Mendoza MC (2013). Phosphoregulation of the WAVE regulatory complex and signal integration. [Review]. Semin Cell Dev Biol, 24(4), 272-9.
  2. Mendoza MC, Er EE, Blenis J (2011). The Ras-ERK and PI3K-mTOR pathways: cross-talk and compensation. [Review]. Trends Biochem Sci, 36(6), 320-8.

Book Chapter

  1. Mendoza MC, Besson S, Danuser G (2012). Quantitative fluorescent speckle microscopy (QFSM) to measure actin dynamics. In Current Protocols in Cytometry (Chapter 2, pp. Unit2.18). United States.
  2. Mendoza MC, Er EE, Blenis J (2010). ERK-MAP Kinase signaling in the cytoplasm. In Methods Mol Biol (661, pp. 185-203). United States.

Video