Edroaldo Lummertz da Rocha is a systems biologist dedicated the intriguing interdisciplinary field of cancer research. A graduate of Universidade do Extremo Sul Catarinense, he also holds a master’s degree in electrical engineering (EE) and a doctorate in materials science and engineering (MSE) from the Federal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC). During his doctorate, he was a Sandwich fellow at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University. His thesis received the CAPES award for Doctoral Theses in the Materials category and also the Aziz Nacib Ab’Sáber Thesis Grand Prize.
Edroaldo is working to unravel the signaling pathways between the cells in a primary tumor and the bone marrow. Understanding how metastasis works is one of science’s best hopes for beating cancer. Edroaldo uses computational and experimental biology to help solve this mystery. Outside the lab, he dedicates all his time to his family. He finds peace and quiet near the water and the mountains. The scientist says he gets his best ideas on weekend mornings, over a cup of coffee.
Cancer metastasis, the process by which cancer cells spread to other parts of the body, is responsible for more than 90% of cancer deaths. The mechanisms of metastasis are still poorly understood. Cancer cells can spread to the bone marrow, where they can remain dormant and evade the immune system and cancer treatments. Furthermore, for reasons that are not fully understood, these dormant cancer cells can reactivate and lead to the reappearance of the tumor, sometimes in multiple organs, even years after the successful treatment of the primary tumor. Our main goal is to improve our understanding of this process, advance the fundamental understanding of the biology of metastasis, and identify new vulnerabilities of metastatic tumor cells or their tissue microenvironments, which could lead to the development of new therapies.
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