Dr. Stephanie Kreis (SK) leads the MicroRNA team at LSRU. The MicroRNA team at LSRU combines wet lab molecular biology technologies with bioinformatic analyses of high throughput data sets to 1) unravel mechanisms causing transitions from healthy skin to early melanoma and 2) understand the events that lead to the development of drug resistance in cancer patients − a pressing clinical problem arising in all melanoma patients treated with BRAF kinase inhibitors. For this, the group developed in vitro models using established cancer cell lines to identify microRNAs, mRNAs, proteins and genes (packed within exosomes or not) that are involved in the development of resistance. A focus is on dynamic sampling to identify small transitions that might accumulate before drug resistance develops. The in vitro data will be accompanied by data collected over time from patients undergoing kinase inhibitor treatments. Moreover, the group is establishing in vitro models of healthy melanocytes or primary melanomas exposed to UV irradiation (similar to environmental irradiation) or other carcinogens. By sequential sampling and analysis of the cellular DNA, mRNA, miRNA, and protein changes, the objective is to find small and sudden transitions that might account for cell transformation and development or progression of cancer.