Kandice Tanner, Ph.D.
Kandice  Tanner, Ph.D.
Investigator
Head, Tissue Morphodynamics Unit

The Tanner lab has determined that cells cans switch between different types of motility namely rotation, random and amoeboid when placed in 3D biomimetic platforms. We have linked the type of motility to the establishment of distinct multicellular architectures and tissue polarity. The mechanisms establishing and controlling tissue polarity are central both to normal tissue function and disease. However, the fundamental biophysical processes by which a single cell must undergo multiple rounds of mitosis to assemble into polarized tissue-like structures remain elusive. We go a step further to link the lessons learned from epithelial morphogenesis to dissect the physico-chemical mechanisms underlying de novo tumor organogenesis.

Areas of Expertise
1) multimodal imaging platforms 2) 3D cell culture 3) biophysics 4) breast cancer 5) melanoma 6) mechanobiology

Contact Info

Kandice Tanner, Ph.D.

Center for Cancer Research
National Cancer Institute

Building 37, Room 2132
Bethesda, MD 20892-4256
301-435-6296

We seek to link the lessons learned from epithelial morphogenesis to dissect the mechanisms by which tumor cells can colonize distant organs by directly visualizing single cell dynamics in thick tissues. By treating  newly-formed neoplasms as new organs, we aim to dissect the physico-chemical processes involved in this de novo “tumor organogenesis”. Our analysis of epithelial morphogenesis using live imaging has revealed that cells can undergo three-dimensional (3D) specific motility to assemble into multicellular tissues. Our group seeks to uncover how adult cells sense a change in dimension and then conveys that to its progeny to understand the mechanisms by which an adult cell can use these different motilities to remodel existing tissue architecture. To quantify minute forces, the laboratory utilizes a battery of biophysical and molecular approaches: optical tweezers, multi-photon microscopy, sub-cellular protein visualization in fixed and living cells and tissues, fluctuation correlation data analysis, and mathematical modeling of complex cell dynamics within thick tissues. Furthermore, we link in vitro findings to clinically relevant problems by studying animal models.

In Project 1, we focus on visualizing the types of motility that can be executed by tumor cells in 3D biomimetic matrices. We then aim to determine the molecular and physical regulators that govern what type of motility is executed.

In Project 2, we focus on the dynamics of remodeling of the de novo ECM: “soil” in the brain.  Here, we probe the interplay between motility and secretion and de novo assembly of ECM proteins in 3D biomimetic platforms for metastasis. 

Scientific Focus Areas:
Biomedical Engineering and Biophysics, Cancer Biology, Cell Biology
Selected Recent Publications
  1. Tanner K, Mori H, Mroue R, Bruni-Cardoso A, and Bissell MJ.
    Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 109: 1973-8, 2012. [ Journal Article ]
  2. Tanner K and Gottesman MM.
    Science Trans. Med. 7: 283ps9, 2015. [ Journal Article ]
  3. Deconstructing the role of the ECM microenvironment on drug efficacy targeting MAPK signaling in a pre-clinical platform for cutaneous metastatic melanoma.
    Blehm BH, Jiang N, Kotobuki Y, and Tanner K.
    Biomaterials. in press, 2015. [ Journal Article ]
  4. Tanner K.
    Phys Biol. 9: 65003, 2012. [ Journal Article ]
  5. Boudreau A, Tanner K, Wang D, Geyer FC, Reis-Filho JS, and Bissell MJ.
    Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 110: E3937-44, 2013. [ Journal Article ]

Kandice Tanner received her doctoral degree in Physics at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign under Professor Enrico Gratton. Her thesis involved the use of near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) for non-invasive imaging of the mammalian brain with theoretical and experimental validation in an animal model. She was awarded a dissertation prize for her graduate work. She completed post-doctoral training at the University of California, Irvine specializing in dynamic imaging of thick tissues. She then became a Department of Defense Breast Cancer Post-doctoral fellow jointly at University of California, Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory under Dr. Mina J. Bissell. Dr. Tanner joined the NCI as a Tenure-Track Investigator in July, 2012. The Tanner lab focuses on the physical mechanisms of morphogenesis from single cell to tissues, in 3D cell cultures as well as in vivo in animal models.

Name Position
Anna Afasizheva B.S. Postbaccalaureate Fellow
Benjamin Blehm Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow (CRTA)
Alexus Devine B.S. Postbaccalaureate Fellow
Nancy Jiang Special Volunteer
Jiyun Kim Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow (Visiting)
Jack Staunton Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow (CRTA)

Research

We seek to link the lessons learned from epithelial morphogenesis to dissect the mechanisms by which tumor cells can colonize distant organs by directly visualizing single cell dynamics in thick tissues. By treating  newly-formed neoplasms as new organs, we aim to dissect the physico-chemical processes involved in this de novo “tumor organogenesis”. Our analysis of epithelial morphogenesis using live imaging has revealed that cells can undergo three-dimensional (3D) specific motility to assemble into multicellular tissues. Our group seeks to uncover how adult cells sense a change in dimension and then conveys that to its progeny to understand the mechanisms by which an adult cell can use these different motilities to remodel existing tissue architecture. To quantify minute forces, the laboratory utilizes a battery of biophysical and molecular approaches: optical tweezers, multi-photon microscopy, sub-cellular protein visualization in fixed and living cells and tissues, fluctuation correlation data analysis, and mathematical modeling of complex cell dynamics within thick tissues. Furthermore, we link in vitro findings to clinically relevant problems by studying animal models.

In Project 1, we focus on visualizing the types of motility that can be executed by tumor cells in 3D biomimetic matrices. We then aim to determine the molecular and physical regulators that govern what type of motility is executed.

In Project 2, we focus on the dynamics of remodeling of the de novo ECM: “soil” in the brain.  Here, we probe the interplay between motility and secretion and de novo assembly of ECM proteins in 3D biomimetic platforms for metastasis. 

Scientific Focus Areas:
Biomedical Engineering and Biophysics, Cancer Biology, Cell Biology

Publications

Selected Recent Publications
  1. Tanner K, Mori H, Mroue R, Bruni-Cardoso A, and Bissell MJ.
    Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 109: 1973-8, 2012. [ Journal Article ]
  2. Tanner K and Gottesman MM.
    Science Trans. Med. 7: 283ps9, 2015. [ Journal Article ]
  3. Deconstructing the role of the ECM microenvironment on drug efficacy targeting MAPK signaling in a pre-clinical platform for cutaneous metastatic melanoma.
    Blehm BH, Jiang N, Kotobuki Y, and Tanner K.
    Biomaterials. in press, 2015. [ Journal Article ]
  4. Tanner K.
    Phys Biol. 9: 65003, 2012. [ Journal Article ]
  5. Boudreau A, Tanner K, Wang D, Geyer FC, Reis-Filho JS, and Bissell MJ.
    Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 110: E3937-44, 2013. [ Journal Article ]

Biography

Kandice Tanner received her doctoral degree in Physics at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign under Professor Enrico Gratton. Her thesis involved the use of near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) for non-invasive imaging of the mammalian brain with theoretical and experimental validation in an animal model. She was awarded a dissertation prize for her graduate work. She completed post-doctoral training at the University of California, Irvine specializing in dynamic imaging of thick tissues. She then became a Department of Defense Breast Cancer Post-doctoral fellow jointly at University of California, Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory under Dr. Mina J. Bissell. Dr. Tanner joined the NCI as a Tenure-Track Investigator in July, 2012. The Tanner lab focuses on the physical mechanisms of morphogenesis from single cell to tissues, in 3D cell cultures as well as in vivo in animal models.

Team

Name Position
Anna Afasizheva B.S. Postbaccalaureate Fellow
Benjamin Blehm Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow (CRTA)
Alexus Devine B.S. Postbaccalaureate Fellow
Nancy Jiang Special Volunteer
Jiyun Kim Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow (Visiting)
Jack Staunton Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow (CRTA)