Ben May Department for Cancer Research and the College
Alexander Muir is interested in understanding the metabolic adaptations that allow cancer cells to grow and proliferate, causing tumor growth. To understand how cancer cell metabolism fuels tumor growth, his lab uses metabolomics techniques to catalog which nutrients are in the microenvironment of tumors. This provides a “menu” of nutrients that cancer cells could potentially metabolize to fuel their growth. He then uses a variety of experimental tools, from metabolomics to CRISPR gene editing, to determine which nutrients cancer cells actually consume and which metabolic pathways process these nutrients. Based on these experiments, he is delineating the biochemical underpinnings of cancer cell growth.
Muir holds an AB in biology and Romance languages and literatures from the University of Chicago and a PhD in molecular and cell biology from the University of California, Berkeley, where he studied how yeast cells alter their metabolism to survive in stressful environments. He completed his postdoctoral research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.