Faculty & Staff
Philippe Thuillier, Ph.D.
- Assistant Professor, Department of PHPM, OHSU Cancer Research Center
- Adjunct Research Scientist - CROET
Our lab is focusing on the molecular mechanisms by which dietary nutrients can prevent cancer. We have the unique approach of combining molecular biology and epidemiology to truely assess translationally the genetic and epigenetic mechanisms regulating cancer cell and tumor growth.
Starting from the Epidemiological evidence that specific dietary nutrients have a positive or negative impact on cancer risk and outcome our lab has narrowed down in vitro and in vivo on the molecular mechanisms involved in those effects. By doing so we can utilize state of the art molecular biology tools to characterize the pathways and some of the targets by which specific nutrients control cancer cell and tumor growth. Some of those include regulation of cell cycle, oxidative stress and apoptosis. The information gathered from our in vitro and in vivo models can then be used back in the human population to further validate strategies and mechanisms by which these specific nutrients maybe be effective chemopreventive agents and how their effect may differ from individual to individual. The unique approach of our lab is that the information gathered from basic research is fed back to analysis in human population and the resulting outcome tested back again in vitro in a continuous looping manner that allows true interaction between clinical and basic research. Thus using this back and forth cross-talk between basic and clinical research we are able to refine our understanding of the molecular mechanims regulating disease progression and risk in the human population. The resulting potential impact is obviously enormous for the millions of American who could benefit from cancer prevention strategies that would only require dietary manipulation.
Our main sites of interest include skin, prostate, breast, liver and ovarian cancer. Some of the nutrients that have shown to be outstdanding chemopreventive agents include fatty acids, sulforophane, green tea polyphenols, phytochemicals and some vitamines. In addition, because of our location in the Cancer Institute we benefit from the close interactions and collaborations with other members of the Cancer Research Center.
The lab is also based on a team spirit that makes the environment stimulating and engaging while keeping it very friendly. We have lab parties and take an annual lab trip every summer to a destination chosen by the lab. Previous trips include "Mt St Helens climb" and "White water rafting on the deschutes".