In the Covic laboratory, we study a novel class of cell surface proteins known as protease-activated receptors. These receptors include the major thrombin receptor of blood vessels and platelets as well as receptors that are involved in cancer invasion and metastasis. The first member of the protease-activated receptor family, PAR1, has been identified as an oncogene and its expression correlates strongly with invasive and metastatic processes of cancer cells from breast, melanoma and ovarian tumors. In addition, we study the downstream signaling molecule, the angiogenesis factor Cyr61, in the malignant progression of breast cancer. Cyr61 was identified as a marker for poor prognosis in a recent large breast cancer study.