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Faculty

Christine Farrar, PhD

Christine Farrar, PhD
  • Assistant Specialist (Assistant Professor)
    and Director, Microscopy, Imaging, and Flow Cytometry Shared Resource

    University of Hawaii Cancer Center

Degrees

  • PhD, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
    University of California, Los Angeles

Research Focus

Dr. Farrar's main focus is developing methods in microscopy and imaging to study the signaling pathways, cellular processes and underlying mechanisms that control cancer cell initiation, progression, and metastasis and toward the development of novel diagnostics and therapeutics for the treatment of cancer. Currently she serves as the Director of the Microscopy, Imaging, and Flow Cytometry Shared Resource at the University of Hawai'i Cancer Center (UHCC). This shared resource provides UHCC members with access to a variety of microscopy and imaging instrumentation including epifluorescence microscopes, a laser scanning confocal microscope, live cell imaging equipment, and a preclinical optical imager. In addition, a laser microdissection microscope is available for isolating rare cells or areas of tissue from sample slides for further analysis. The resource also has two flow cytometers for quantifying cellular characteristics, such as, intracellular signaling, apoptosis/necrosis, proliferation, cell cycle, and transfection efficiency. This shared resource also offers training and consultation on all instrumentation.

One of Dr. Farrar's main research interests involves developing techniques in live cell imaging for the purpose of contributing to the understanding of the underlying mechanisms that control cancer cell initiation, progression and metastasis. She is currently working on developing methods that include the use of optical highlighter fluorescence proteins, FRET-based biosensor probes, photobleaching, fluorescence speckle, and other techniques that are used to track the dynamic behavior of proteins in living cancer cells. Another live cell application she is interested in advancing at the center is optogenetics, the ability to control gene expression in living cells with light activation and/or deactivation. One advantage of light-inducible systems compared to chemically induced systems is that they are less limited by spatial and temporal requirements and are more easily utilized under the microscope. As director of the microscopy core, she also works consistently to advance core services. One way of doing this is through the development of educational courses for our users, such as one covering the fundamentals of microscopy and another covering image processing and analysis for cancer relevant techniques, such as co-localization, live-cell imaging, angiogenesis tube formation, cell cycle, cellular outgrowth, cell tracking, and more.