Hines Lab

Principal Investigator

William 'Curt' Hines, PhD

Assistant Professor, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Dr. Hines’ research is dedicated to defining the cellular and biochemical microenvironment of tissues and tumors and determining the consequences of cell type interactions in both normal and malignant contexts.


  • Breast cancer biology
  • Complex cell interactions

Recent Research

hines labThe Hines Lab addresses one of biology’s oldest and most fundamental questions: how do cells coordinate and cooperate to form and maintain functional tissue? The answer to this critical question is central to our understanding of cancer.

The number and different types of cells composing breast tissue is uncertain, as are their origins and relationships to each other. This contributes to a lack of context-specific models needed for studying breast cancer biology.

The research addresses this insufficiency by improving models and developing a complex antibody panel and rigorous flow cytometric gating strategy capable of resolving and sorting types of cells in the breast. 

This significantly expands the number of primary cell populations commonly isolated from these tissues. Research is geared at understanding how these different cell types interact and influence each other.

Working with RNAs collected from each population, the lab has developed—and continues to improve— methods of culturing each cell population for further study. We have developed a ‘cell interaction’ network describing the complex interactions occurring between each of the cell populations and their microenvironments. We test this network in the laboratory in normal, ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) and tumor contexts.

Understanding the molecular and biochemical processes of how epithelial cells communicate with each other and with their microenvironments will be key to understanding and effectively treating breast cancer.

Opportunities for Student Involvement

hines with lab studentsUndergraduates (all bio-related majors) are encouraged to apply for undergraduate research experience. Accepted biochemistry majors will perform honors research and complete an undergraduate thesis. Contact Dr. Hines to apply.

Major Funding