Understanding the molecular events leading to prostate cancer initiation and metastatic progression is critical toward developing new rationale therapies for prevention and treatment. It is along the path starting from a stem cell to becoming a fully differentiated luminal epithelial cell that disease initiation occurs. However, the mechanisms of stem cell development, maintenance, survival and differentiation are poorly understood. Dr. Vander Griend's research at the University of Chicago focuses on understanding the function of the human prostate as it relates to (1) stem cell maintenance and turnover, (2) dependence upon androgen and the supporting stroma and (3) molecular events driving prostate carcinogenesis. A major focus of his lab is also training and equipping the next generation of young scientists to become leaders and innovators of the future.