The focus of my research is on the molecular mechanisms behind cholesterolâ€™s role in the progression of prostate cancer. My laboratory and colleagues have been responsible for a number of pioneering reports demonstrating how cholesterol contributes to the regulation of Akt, a kinase that is known to play a role in prostate cancer progression, the neuroendocrine differentiation of prostate cancer cells, and the formation and regulation of cholesterol-enriched lipid rafts in many cell types including prostate cancer cells. We have also shown how hypercholesterolemia accelerates the growth of prostatic tumors, while hypocholesterolemia has the opposite effect and reduces tumor growth. Recently, we have developed preliminary studies suggesting that the intratumoral de novo synthesis of androgen from cholesterol is a critical factor driving tumor growth, and likely explains some or all of the growth promoting effects of hypercholesterolemia on prostatic tumors. Ongoing research involves investigating the association between cholesterol, CYP17A expression and prostate cancer progression, including whether pharmacologic cholesterol lowering affects the occurrence or severity of prostate cancer. Other ongoing work is to investigate the role of cholesterol in promoting breast cancer progression.