Prof Robert Coffey Vanderbilt School of Medicine United States of America
A focus of research within the Coffey lab is the study of the role of the EGF receptor (EGFR) and its ligands in GI neoplasia. The lab has shown that the EGFR neutralizing monoclonal antibody, cetuximab, is the first effective medical treatment for Ménétrier’s disease, a rare premalignant hypertrophic gastropathy, The lab has a particular interest in the trafficking of EGFR ligands in polarizing colonic epithelial cells. This work has led to the identification of a new mode of EGFR ligand signaling via exosomes and the development of FAVS (fluorescence-activated vesicle sorting) to isolate and characterize extracellular vesicles and nanoparticles. The lab has found that Lrig1, and EGFR negative regulator, marks proliferative and quiescent intestinal stem cells and acts as an in vivo tumor suppressor in the small intestine and colon. Coffey has been PI since 2002 of the VICC GI Special Programs of Research Excellence that focuses on colorectal cancer and is a recipient of an NCI Outstanding Investigator Award.