Dr. Nathalie Lamarche-Vane studies the signalling pathways mediated by the Rho family of GTPases. The Rho family of GTPases has been shown to play a critical role in many aspects of cell biology, ie cell migration, cell adhesion, cell morphology and cell growth. These cellular events are crucial for the normal development and physiology in humans. For instance, in the adult, migration events are involved in the normal physiology as well as in pathology such as metastasis. In embryogenesis, cell migration is an important feature of the development of the nervous system. Lamarche is interested in investigating the role of the Rho GTPases in cell migration - in particular, in the developing nervous system and in the cellular processes leading to metastasis. Using molecular and cellular approaches, she will identify the extracellular cues that regulate the Rho GTPases, how they regulate the Rho proteins, and how the Rho proteins, in turn, regulate the morphological changes induced in neuronal cells. Understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying the Rho proteins in cell migration and cell adhesion will be helpful to identify novel drug targets for tumor therapy and neurodegenerative diseases.