Skip to Main Content
Theresa Vincent

Theresa Vincent, PhD

Research Associate Professor, Department of Microbiology

EMT, tumor cell plasticity, cancer, metastasis, ribosomal DNA transcription, ribosomes, translation

Nearly ninety percent of all cancer patient deaths are due to metastasis. Our research focuses on the process when tumor cells migrate from the tumor to blood and lymph vessels where they can spread to other parts of the body. Our goal is a better understanding of the complex mechanisms behind metastasis so that our results in the long term can be applied in the clinic.

Identification of Cellular Events that Affect Metastasis

While remarkable advances have been made in the treatment of primary breast cancer, breast cancer metastasis remains largely incurable and is what accounts for approximately 90 percent of patient deaths. Metastatic breast cancer cells can invade both lymphatic and blood vessels and spread to distant organs such as the lungs, liver, brain, and bone, and these cancer cells remain resistant to conventional breast cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and anti-estrogen therapies. Thus, patients diagnosed with metastatic disease have extremely poor outcomes, with only 5 to 10 percent of patients surviving 10 years after initial diagnosis. Despite extensive studies over the last four decades, there are no therapies that can be said to be curative of breast cancer metastasis, and therefore there has been little improvement in the survival of patients with breast cancer metastasis. New treatment approaches are urgently needed both to aggressively treat primary cancers before metastasis and metastasis once it has occurred.

As tumors progress towards advanced stages they dedifferentiate, become more aggressive, and lose the characteristics of the original tissue. They also acquire the migratory capacity that allows the tumor to spread or metastasize to distant sites in the body, eventually causing patient death. For epithelial tumors to metastasize the tumor cells undergo a cell plasticity program known as the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT), which allows the cells to develop migratory and invasive abilities. During EMT, cells also lose their proliferative capacity and become more stem-like. This remarkable transition leads to both increased invasiveness and the ability to evade numerous cancer treatments including hormonal therapies. Our main interest is to now gain a better understanding of the cellular changes that induce and drive tumor cell plasticity.

Toward this aim our investigations have identified a novel central driving feature of the EMT program which is highly druggable, specifically that EMT is accompanied by a dramatic and essential reprogramming of ribosome biogenesis, the key step in the creation of the protein synthesis machinery, the ribosome. Although ribosome biogenesis is a canonical hallmark of cell growth and proliferation, our studies demonstrated that ribosome biogenesis in non-dividing metastatic cancer cells is essential for their viability, metastasis, and the survival of established metastases.
Until recently, ribosomes have been considered to play only passive roles during the production of proteins. Our studies suggest the contrary and are therefore directed toward understanding the more complex and active roles of how ribosomes and translation control contribute to cell physiology in health and disease states.
Bridging the Gap for Racial Disparity

Racial disparities in breast cancer treatment and survival outcomes are significantly large across the globe including within and beyond Europe and North America. Africans and African Americans have a 39 to 40 percent higher risk of dying from breast cancer than their White counterparts. The incidence of the most aggressive breast cancer type, triple-negative (TNBC) breast cancer, is twice as high among Black women than White women. Racial inequities in cancer are deep-seated and multidimensional with foundations in biological, social, cultural, and structural differences. Our group is committed help bridge the gap of racial disparity and address the lack of basic research tools and resources to study molecular underpinnings of tumor initiation, progression, and metastasis in breast cancer patients of African descent across the globe to improve outcomes – both treatment and survival with our collaborators in the US, Africa, and Europe.
The Importance of Collaboration

Currently, we have several ongoing national and international research projects within these areas and our laboratory places a special focus on international collaborative efforts. It is our ambition to create a unique laboratory and educational environment that is not limited by departmental or national barriers but only by our scientific education, curiosity, and ambition.



Academic office

450 East 29th Street

3rd, 329

New York, NY 10016

Is this your profile?
These focus areas and their associated publications are derived from medical subject headings from PubMed.
represents one publication
*Due to PubMed processing times, the most recent publications may not be reflected in the timeline.

PhD from Karolinska Institutet

Karolinska Institutet, Pettersson

Weill Cornell Medicine, Brown

Mader, Theresa; Chaillou, Thomas; Alves, Estela Santos; Jude, Baptiste; Cheng, Arthur J; Kenne, Ellinor; Mijwel, Sara; Kurzejamska, Ewa; Vincent, Clara Theresa; Rundqvist, Helene; Lanner, Johanna T

Journal of cachexia, sarcopenia & muscle. 2022 Apr; 13(2):1151-1163

Vincent, C Theresa; Schneider, Robert J

Nature cell biology. 2022 Mar; 24(3):287-289

Abdulla, Naaziyah; Vincent, C Theresa; Kaur, Mandeep

Frontiers in cell & developmental biology. 2021 Nov; 9:728325

Johard, Helena; Omelyanenko, Anna; Fei, Gao; Zilberter, Misha; Dave, Zankruti; Abu-Youssef, Randa; Schmidt, Linnéa; Harisankar, Aditya; Vincent, C Theresa; Walfridsson, Julian; Nelander, Sven; Harkany, Tibor; Blomgren, Klas; Andäng, Michael

Molecular cancer research. 2020 Oct; 18(10):1522-1533

Hoshino, Ayuko; Kim, Han Sang; Bojmar, Linda; Gyan, Kofi Ennu; Cioffi, Michele; Hernandez, Jonathan; Zambirinis, Constantinos P; Rodrigues, Gonçalo; Molina, Henrik; Heissel, Søren; Mark, Milica Tesic; Steiner, Loïc; Benito-Martin, Alberto; Lucotti, Serena; Di Giannatale, Angela; Offer, Katharine; Nakajima, Miho; Williams, Caitlin; Nogués, Laura; Pelissier Vatter, Fanny A; Hashimoto, Ayako; Davies, Alexander E; Freitas, Daniela; Kenific, Candia M; Ararso, Yonathan; Buehring, Weston; Lauritzen, Pernille; Ogitani, Yusuke; Sugiura, Kei; Takahashi, Naoko; Alečković, MaÅ¡a; Bailey, Kayleen A; Jolissant, Joshua S; Wang, Huajuan; Harris, Ashton; Schaeffer, L Miles; García-Santos, Guillermo; Posner, Zoe; Balachandran, Vinod P; Khakoo, Yasmin; Raju, G Praveen; Scherz, Avigdor; Sagi, Irit; Scherz-Shouval, Ruth; Yarden, Yosef; Oren, Moshe; Malladi, Mahathi; Petriccione, Mary; De Braganca, Kevin C; Donzelli, Maria; Fischer, Cheryl; Vitolano, Stephanie; Wright, Geraldine P; Ganshaw, Lee; Marrano, Mariel; Ahmed, Amina; DeStefano, Joe; Danzer, Enrico; Roehrl, Michael H A; Lacayo, Norman J; Vincent, Theresa C; Weiser, Martin R; Brady, Mary S; Meyers, Paul A; Wexler, Leonard H; Ambati, Srikanth R; Chou, Alexander J; Slotkin, Emily K; Modak, Shakeel; Roberts, Stephen S; Basu, Ellen M; Diolaiti, Daniel; Krantz, Benjamin A; Cardoso, Fatima; Simpson, Amber L; Berger, Michael; Rudin, Charles M; Simeone, Diane M; Jain, Maneesh; Ghajar, Cyrus M; Batra, Surinder K; Stanger, Ben Z; Bui, Jack; Brown, Kristy A; Rajasekhar, Vinagolu K; Healey, John H; de Sousa, Maria; Kramer, Kim; Sheth, Sujit; Baisch, Jeanine; Pascual, Virginia; Heaton, Todd E; La Quaglia, Michael P; Pisapia, David J; Schwartz, Robert; Zhang, Haiying; Liu, Yuan; Shukla, Arti; Blavier, Laurence; DeClerck, Yves A; LaBarge, Mark; Bissell, Mina J; Caffrey, Thomas C; Grandgenett, Paul M; Hollingsworth, Michael A; Bromberg, Jacqueline; Costa-Silva, Bruno; Peinado, Hector; Kang, Yibin; Garcia, Benjamin A; O'Reilly, Eileen M; Kelsen, David; Trippett, Tanya M; Jones, David R; Matei, Irina R; Jarnagin, William R; Lyden, David

Cell. 2020 Aug 20; 182(4):1044-1061.e18

Strbkova, Lenka; Carson, Brittany B; Vincent, Theresa; Vesely, Pavel; Chmelik, Radim

Journal of biomedical optics. 2020 Aug; 25(8):

Rios-Fuller, Tiffany J; Mahe, Melanie; Walters, Beth; Abbadi, Dounia; Pérez-Baos, Sandra; Gadi, Abhilash; Andrews, John J; Katsara, Olga; Vincent, C Theresa; Schneider, Robert J

International journal of molecular sciences. 2020 Jul 26; 21(15):

Mutvei, Anders P; Nagiec, Michal J; Hamann, Jens C; Kim, Sang Gyun; Vincent, C Theresa; Blenis, John

Nature communications. 2020 Mar 17; 11(1):1416