Thanh Lan Chu


Presentation: 1:15-2:30, Kennedy Union Ballroom



Download Project (2.5 MB)


Breast cancer has been considered as the second contributor to cancer-related fatalities among women worldwide. Among different categories of breast tumors, multifocal and multicentric breast cancers (MMBC) tend to be more aggressive than unifocal tumors and are highly associated with lower survival rates, higher recurrence rates, and increased lymph node metastasis. So far, the underlying mechanisms governing MMBC invasion and proliferation have remained unclear. Recent advancements in three-dimensional in-vitro tumor models have proven to more effectively replicate the intricate tumor microenvironment compared to traditional two-dimensional cell culture on petri dishes. In addition, employing bioinformatics to assess gene signature profiles in various public datasets could offer perspectives on different breast tumor behaviors such as migration and invasion. Therefore, our approach involves utilizing the advances of bioinformatics and lab-on-a-chip technology to broaden our understanding of MMBC along with novel features related to the aggressiveness of MMBC. In this research, two distinct clusters of differentially expressed genes were identified, shedding light on key biological pathways which intricately linked to MMBC. For the on-chip model, the optimal spheroid formation was achieved from MDA-MB-231 cells mimicking primary breast tumors; and a uniform chessboard pattern was designed and generated by UV photolithography of SU-8 2025 photoresist, on a glass slide to facilitate positioning and quantification of the spheroids. The spheroids were introduced on the chip and embedded in a collagen gel that mimics the extracellular environment of the breast tissue. This on-chip model allows for further investigation into various cancerous behaviors such as cell invasion, tumor movement, and tumor necrosis. This integrative approach provides a novel platform for studying MMBC, potentially revealing critical insights for improved diagnostics and treatment strategies for MMBC.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Graduate Research

Primary Advisor

Loan T. Bui

Primary Advisor's Department



Stander Symposium, College of Arts and Sciences

Investigating Key Features of Multifocal and Multicentric Breast Cancer via Bioinformatics and a Model-on-a-Chip