Dries Lab The lab of Systems and Spatial Biology at Boston University School of Medicine


Tightly linked to the Boston Medical Center (BMC), we ask ourselves fundamental questions such as: How can we improve the quality of patients’ lives? What drives and controls cellular plasticity in development and tumor resistance? How do cells transcriptionally respond to targeted therapies and how can we steer it in the right direction? What is the role of signaling and cell communcation within the (tumor) microenvironment? And how can we ultimately leverage our knowledge to identify better biomarkers or novel therapy strategies?

To answer these questions we make use of state-of-the-art facilities and emerging spatial technologies and apply them directly on primary tumor tissues. Alternatively, we aim to mimick such biological processes using 3D multi-cellular in vitro models, such as (tumor) organoids and spheroids. These systems can then be challenged through genetic engineering and be profiled using a wide-array of genomics and imaging technologies.

We focus on biological processes that control the decision making of an individual (cancer) cell. These processes range from extracelluar cues, such as signaling pathways and cell-to-cell interactions, to intracellular mechanisms that control the cell’s fate and its ability to (de-)differentiate, such as chromatin reorganization and transcriptional processing.

Current Projects

Pulmonary Metastasis in Osteosarcoma

Pediatric osteosarcoma, a tumor that affects children during growth spurts, is a challenging disease to treat, and treatment has not improved in almost four decades. The primary cause of mortality for pediatric osteosarcoma is metastases to the lung. This interdisciplinary project, funded by Alex’s Lemonade Stand, seeks to uncover the processes that drive the development of metastatic lesions. Using cutting edge technology including spatial transcriptomics, we hope to identify druggable drivers of metastasis.

Learn more about the Crazy Eight Initiative