Dr. Sanchez is a geneticist trained in both mammalian and yeast models. Her laboratory uses yeast and mouse models to study the interplay between oncogenes and checkpoint pathways in the early stages of cancer development. As a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Stephen Elledge's laboratory Dr. Sanchez focused on using yeast and mammalian cells to dissect the signaling pathways that regulate S phase and Mitosis following DNA damage, where she cloned the mammalian and yeast checkpoint kinase 1 genes. The human Chk1 kinase is an oncology target in Phase I clinical trials. Her laboratory also builds genetic platforms that are used in synthetic lethal chemical screens for the identification of drugs and drug targets for the treatment of cancer including pancreatic cancer and numerous types of aggressive neurological cancers.
Dr. Sanchez serves on the steering committee for the Early Phase Trial Clinical Oncology Group and is a member of the Neuro-oncology program of the Norris Cotton Cancer Center. She co-directs the SYNERGY Pilot program in Methodology and Technology Innovation for Translational Research (MITRA) with Drs. Anna Tosteson and Richard Enelow. Dr Sanchez was a member of the NIH Molecular Genetics C study section and has served on numerous NIH panels. She is co-inventor on three patents and two provisional patent applications.
Associate Director for Basic Sciences, Norris Cotton Cancer Center
Dr. Sanchez's laboratory studies the pathways that protect genomic integrity and in particular the study of the Chk1 protein, a target of inhibitors currently in clinical trials for cancer. Her laboratory uses different model systems (yeast, insect and mammalian cells) to reconstitute spatial temporal signaling from stalled replication forks and DNA damage in order to dissect the mechanism by which mitosis is regulated by localized activation of enzyme complexes following DNA damage and to dissect the signal transduction pathways originating at a stalled replication fork, which orchestrate the DNA damage and S phase checkpoints.
DNA damage has been found to be an early event in pre-malignant lesions and can be caused by deregulation of cancer driving genes called oncogenes. This finding led the Sanchez laboratory to investigate the role that checkpoint pathways play in the early stages of cancer development. Dr. Sanchez's laboratory uses mouse models to study the role that Chk1 plays in the early stages of cancer development.
Dr. Sanchez laboratory also works on building genetic platforms for the identification of drugs and drug targets for the treatment of cancer.