The so-called RAS/ERK pathway is critical for normal development and is often altered in cancer. Moreover, inherited mutations in pathway components cause a set of related, developmental disorders, called RASopathies. These disorders include Noonan syndrome, LEOPARD syndrome, cardio-facio-cutaneous syndrome and Costello syndrome. Patients with RASopathies can have serious cardiac defects and many have increased cancer risk, with the associated malignancies differing dramatically. Dr. Neels research focuses on understanding the pathogenesis of these rare disorders. His work will shed light on the complexities of cell regulation, and ultimately provide the groundwork for more effective treatments for RASopathies and cancer.