The scientific objectives of the Hendrix laboratory include identifying genes which contribute to cancer metastasis and other related diseases which exhibit similar biological activities. The major goal is to define important structure/function relationships, which provide the biological basis for new therapeutic strategies. Laboratory studies and collaborations have generated molecular classification(s) of specific tumors, and have provided new prognostic markers and novel targets for therapeutic intervention. In addition, these studies have identified certain genes that are dysregulated during cancer progression and may also be aberrant during development, resulting in birth defects. Current research activities focus on elucidating how regulatory molecules and phenotype control genes govern cell-to-cell and cell-to-matrix interactions, epithelial/mesenchymal transitions, and motility. Specific projects include signal transduction events initiated by cell adhesion molecules and growth factors; factors regulating interconversion of the tumor cell phenotype; novel three-dimensional analysis of cellular invasion through extracellular matrices; regulation of matrix metalloproteinases by tumor and stromal cell interactions; tumor angiogenesis and vasculogenesis; and the epigenetic role of the microenvironment in determining cell fate and tumor cell plasticity. Recent studies have addressed the reprogramming of metastatic tumor cells with embryonic microenvironments, and revealed the convergence of embryonic and tumorigenic signaling pathways -- leading to the identification of new targets for therapeutic intervention.