Metastasis, Precision medicine
Professor Knouse studies how tissues sense and respond to damage, seeking new treatments for conditions ranging from tissue degeneration to cancer.
The Knouse Laboratory aims to understand how tissues sense and respond to damage with the goal of developing novel treatments for diverse diseases. We focus on the mammalian liver, which has the unique ability to completely regenerate itself, in order to identify the molecular requirements for proliferative capacity and organ repair. To this end, we innovate genetic, molecular, and cellular tools that allow us to investigate organ injury and regeneration directly within living organisms. We will leverage our discoveries to identify novel therapeutic approaches for disease states ranging from tissue degeneration to cancer.
The most therapeutically intractable aspect of cancer is often not the rapidly proliferating cells that constitute primary tumors, but rather the cells that disseminate from the primary tumor to sites throughout the body. These cells can lie quiescent for years, evading the chemotherapies designed to target rapidly dividing cells, until ultimately re-entering the cell cycle and manifesting as metastatic disease. Our studies of quiescence and cell cycle re-entry will enable us to better understand and eventually target dormant cancer cells to prevent metastatic disease.
Kristin Knouse received a BS in biology from Duke University in 2010 and then enrolled in the Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology MD-PhD program, where she earned a PhD through the MIT Department of Biology in 2016 and an MD through the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology in 2018. She conducted her doctoral research in the laboratory of Angelika Amon, where she developed tools to characterize large-scale somatic copy number alterations in mammalian tissues and then used diverse approaches to reveal the importance of tissue architecture for chromosome segregation fidelity in epithelia. In 2018, Knouse established her independent laboratory as a Whitehead Fellow at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research and was honored with the NIH Director’s Early Independence Award. In 2021, she became an assistant professor in the MIT Department of Biology and Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research.