The major research interest of the Rifkin Lab at NYU Langone is the transfer of information in the extracellular environment and the impact of this process on diseases such as cancer.
As a model to study how extracellular molecular cues are processed, we have chosen to examine the manner in which growth factors are presented to their receptors. While at first thought this may appear to be straightforward, the interaction of a growth factor with its receptor occurs only under specific conditions: growth factor diffusion must be controlled to ensure that sufficiently high concentrations are reached, many growth factors must be activated before binding to their cognate receptor, and growth factors’ function is highly contextual.
These facts make the problem of understanding growth factor availability in both time and space interesting and challenging. Indeed, improper growth factor presentation may be the cause of a number of pathologies including tumor growth, fibrosis, and autoimmunity.
Daniel B. Rifkin, PhD
Professor, Department of Cell Biology
The Charles Aden Poindexter Professor of Medicine, Department of Medicine
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