Dr. Lawson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics, in the University of California, Irvine Medical School. She has affiliations with the Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center (CFCCC), the Sue and Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center, the Center for Complex Biological Systems (CCBS), and the Institute for Immunology. She is co-leader of the Breast Disease Oriented Team (DOT), which coordinates translational research and clinical trials at UCI, facilitates collaborative research between clinicians and scientists, and coordinates tissue sample procurement and distribution. Dr. Lawson started her career in the laboratory of Dr. Owen Witte at UCLA, where she did seminal work defining prostate stem cells and their role in prostate cancer initiation (Lawson DA et al., PNAS, 2007; Lawson DA et al., PNAS 2010). The protocol she developed for prostate stem cell isolation has been extensively cited and continues to be the mainstay in the field (Lawson DA et al., JCI, 2007; Lukacs R et al., Nat Protoc, 2010). As a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Zena Werb’s lab at UCSF, she extended on this work to study the role of stem cells and differentiation in breast cancer metastasis, which is the cause of nearly all patient mortality. She built a new method for studying metastatic seeding and progression, using single-cell transcriptome technologies to define gene expression programs in disseminated cells. This work showed for the first time that disseminating tumor cells express a distinct gene expression profile akin to normal breast basal epithelial stem cells (Lawson DA et al., Nature, 2015). Her lab continues to be at the forefront of this field, and utilizes a diverse array of single cell level approaches to study breast development, cancer progression and metastasis.