The BC Cancer Foundation and GrasPods are pleased to be hosting Dr. Mina Bissell from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory as this year's Bennett Family Distinguished Lecturer Series speaker on Monday March 14th, 12:00-1:00pm, in the Diamond Lecture Theatre at the BC Cancer Research Centre (BCCRC - 675, West 10th Ave). Dr. Bissell is a pioneer in the study of the role of tissue microenvironment on cell function, specifically in the context of breast cancer. Her radical idea that the 3-D matrix surrounding the cells and the signals that they receive may be as important as genetic abnormalities within the cells for the appearance of cancer has gained prominence in the last decade, and given hope that understanding and normalizing the microenvironment of malignant cells may halt or reverse the growth of tumours. See the abstract of her talk below. Dr. Bissell is a Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences, and a recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship, the Mellon Award from the University of Pittsburgh, the Eli Lilly/Clowes Award of the American Association for Cancer Research, and the Medal of Honor from the American Cancer Society, amongst others. A biosketch of Dr. Bissell is attached. You can also check out her TED Talk. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for any questions. Abstract: Why Don't we get More Cancer: "The critical role of Extracellular Matrix and Microenvironment in metastasis and dormancy" Cancer is a tissue-specific disease. Thus to understand malignancy, one must understand the normal tissue and the organ from which the malignant tumors develop. I will discuss the above within the context of the mammary gland and breast cancer. To understand initiation of breast tumors one must consider the health of the entire organ within the context of the individual: the age of the individual and the medical condition, not only the cells that become or have become malignant but the entire tissue and the microenvironment of the cells that have been targeted to become tumors, and eventually the malignant tumors. This means one has to understand the organ architecture, the tissue context, the shape of the cells, the health of the surrounding cells, the immune status of the host. To understand metastasis of the breast, one needs to know how the tissue and organ developed and how the embryonic cells moved to make the tissue. To understand dormancy, one needs to learn how the cells in the normal tissue become quiescent and to understand drug resistance, one has to ask why and how the normal cells are much more resistant to therapy than the tumor cells? To answer these questions has taken a lifetime. I will share this journey with you and I like to rename it: From laminins to lamin and P53 and back: How does a breast cell knows to be a breast and what happens when it forgets?