Inside My Lab: Tuomas Tammela

VIDEO | 01:57

Go inside the lab of Tuomas Tammela from SKI’s Cancer Biology & Genetics Program.

Show transcript

Every day, our work is making a difference because we're tackling cancer in a new way. We're trying to develop therapies that are conceptually a little different. My name is Tuomas Tammela, and I'm an assistant member at the Cancer Biology and Genetics Program at the Sloan Kettering Institute. In my lab, we work on trying to understand the tremendous heterogeneity that exists in tumors. 

This is something we believe can have a tremendous impact for future cancer therapies. Instead of trying to kill a cancer cell, what we're trying to do is to change its shape, change its phenotype, into something that is then more treatable with something that we already have. I like my team to be excited, motivated, independent, but, at the same time, not afraid to communicate with their colleagues, or me, or other colleagues in other laboratories. 

Collaboration is very important. "So you run this gel." My approach to mentoring is to realize that all of my trainees are unique. I want them to develop independence, learn from their own mistakes, but, at the same time, have my support available when they need it. "Find what are the two extremes." I also think it's very important that we as a team spend time outside the lab. It's important for us to get to know each other, how we are when we're not at work. 

It's important to build friendships and camaraderie so when you come to work, you're actually coming to work with your friends. I'm inspired every day by the amazing group that we've put together in my laboratory. We collaborate and support each other and our profound interest in trying to crack cancer.