Heather Machado, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Tulane School of Medicine, and a program member of the Tulane Cancer Center and the Louisiana Cancer Research Consortium.
Dr. Machado completed her Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from Tulane School of Medicine in 2005, under the supervision of Cindy A. Morris, Ph.D. She went on to conduct her postdoctoral studies in the laboratory of Dr. Jeffrey M. Rosen at Baylor College of Medicine, where she focused on understanding the role of normal stem cells in mammary gland development and in human breast cancer. She opened her laboratory in 2013 upon joining the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Tulane School of Medicine. She is an active member of the American Association of Cancer Research and the Tumor Microenvironment Women in Cancer Research working groups.
Dr. Machado’s laboratory focuses on understanding the mechanisms that drive mammary gland development, and how these mechanisms are deregulated in breast cancer. Using unique mouse models of breast cancer progression, Dr. Machado’s group showed that alterations in macrophages in premalignant lesions can induce the transition to malignant or invasive cancer. The overall goal of these studies is to identify drug targetable pathways and mechanisms to block both macrophages and tumor cells as a breast cancer treatment strategy. Current areas of research include:
- Understanding how stromal-epithelial interactions mediate branching morphogenesis, ductal elongation and post-partum involution during mammary gland development.
- Defining how the stromal microenvironment, in particular macrophages, communicate with premalignant cells to promote breast cancer progression.
- Characterizing the role of macrophage-derived C/EBPb and its specific protein isoforms in mammary gland development and tumor progression.
- Defining the function of the Gas6/Axl/MerTK pathway in mammary gland development, cell fate specification and progression of early stage mammary tumors.
LaMarca H.L. and Rosen J.M. (2008) Minireview: hormones and mammary cell fate—what will I become when I grow up? Endocrinology; 149(9):4317-21. (PMC2553372)
Coffelt S.B., Marini F.C., Watson K., Zwezdaryk K.J., Dembinski J.L., LaMarca H.L., Tomchuck S.L.,Höner zu Bentrup K., Danka E.S., Henkle S.L., and Scandurro A.B. (2009) The pro-inflammatory peptide LL-37 promotes ovarian tumor progression through recruitment of multipotent mesenchymal stromal cells. PNAS; 106(10):3806-11. (PMC2656161)
Behbod F., Kittrell F.S., LaMarca H.L., Edwards D., Kerbawy S., Heestand J.C., Young E., Mukhopadhyay P., Yeh H., Allred D.C., Hi M., Polyak K., Rosen J.M., and Medina D. (2009) An intraductal human-in-mouse transplantation model mimics the subtypes of ductal carcinoma in situ. Breast Cancer Research; 11(5):R66. (PMC2790841)
LaMarca H.L., Visbal A.P., Creighton C.J., Liu H., Zhang Y., Behbod F., and Rosen J.M. (2010) C/EBPb regulates stem cell activity and specifies luminal cell fate in the mammary gland. Stem Cells; 28(3):535-44. (PMC3006225)
Long W., Yi P., Amazit L., LaMarca H.L., Kuma R., Mancini M.A., Tsai S.Y., Tsai M., O’Malley B.W. (2010) SRC-3Δ4 mediates the interaction of EGFR with FAK to promote cancer cell migration and metastasis. Molecular Cell; 37:321-332. (PMC2824333)
Visbal A.P., LaMarca H.L., Villanueva H., Toneff M.J., Li Y., Rosen J.M., and Lewis M.T. (2011) Altered differentiation and paracrine stimulation of mammary epithelial cell proliferation by conditionally activated Smoothened. Developmental Biology; 352 (1):116-27. (PMC3057274)
Machado H.L., Kittrell F.S., Edwards D., White A.N., Atkinson R.L., Rosen J.M., Medina D., and Lewis M.T. (2013) Separation by cell size enriches for mammary stem cell repopulation activity. Stem Cell Translational Medicine; 2(3):199-203. (PMC3659766)
Sainz B., Carron E., Vallespinós M., and Machado H.L. (2016) Cancer stem cells and macrophages: implications in tumor biology and therapeutic strategies. Mediators of Inflammation; 2016:9012369. (PMC4769767)
D’Errico G.D., Machado H.L.* and Sainz B.* (2016) A current perspective on cancer immune therapy: step-by-step approach to constructing the magic bullet. Clinical and Translational Medicine; 6(1):3 (PMC5209322) *co-corresponding author
Carron E.C., Homra S., Rosenberg J., Coffelt S.B., Kittrell F.S., Zhang Y., Creighton C.J., Fuqua S., Medina D., and Machado H.L. (2017) Macrophages promote the progression of premalignant mammary lesions to invasive cancer. Oncotarget; PMID: 28159924
Complete List of Published Work in MyBibliography: