Catherine Peachey Breast Cancer Research Grant

This research program is built on the shared interstes and goals between the WGHI and the Catherine Peachey Fund to promote advances in breast cancer research and treatment and to support research that is best positioned to move from the bench to clinic. The Catherine Peachey Fund was established in memory of Cathy Peachey, one of the founders of the Indiana Breast Cancer Coalition. 


Awarded Proposals


Luis Solorio Luis Solorio

Luis Solorio, PhD

Assistant Professor 
Department of Biomedical Engineering

Project title: “Evaluating the impact of complex extracellular matrix proteins using a high-throughput magnetically actuated 3D microtumor environment for more precise breast cancer drug screening.”    

Metastasis is the single greatest driver of cancer related mortalities. Once metastasized, breast cancer patient survival rate drops almost 75%. A defining hallmark of metastasis is the ability for tumor cells to modulate the microenvironment to facilitate invasion and colonization. After tumor cells have invaded into a new tissue, the mechanical actuation of the metastatic site plays a key role in determining if the cell enters a growth cycle or dormancy. Therefore, there is a critical need to determine how the physical attributes of the microenvironment at the metastatic location dictates the tumor cell fate. This project uses an innovative and unique approach of a 3D test platform to evaluate the effect of the mechanical properties of extracellular environment on metastatic breast cancer growth and drug responsiveness.  

Michael Wendt Michael Wendt

Michael Wendt, PhD

Associate Professor 
Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology

Project title: “Understanding the role of obesity in facilitating resistance to HER2- targeted therapies.”    

Obesity is a significant risk factor for breast cancer recurrence and metastatic progression especially for postmenopausal women. Almost 30% of breast cancer eventually relapse and metastasize to distant organs after being treated with a multi-modal therapies. Metabolic reprograming and acquired resistance to current therapies have been considered as two important underlying factors behind high recurrence and targeted therapy resistance rates in metastatic breast cancers, but neither of these molecular mechanisms are fully elucidated. This project will investigate how obesity-driven metastasis regulates lipid metabolism, leading to an acquired resistance to breast cancer treatment, and how to overcome such drug resistance.