Biology of identity and non-oncogenic addiction networks in cancer
My laboratory focuses on understanding fundamental mechanisms by which regulatory gene networks determine gene expression. Specifically, we study genes belonging to the ubiquitin and ubiquitin-like pathways that are critical for maintenance of cell’s identity and nuclear organization, and deregulation of such genes is associated with aging and cancer.
We focus on two gene networks:
- “Identity network”; genes that are required to maintain the identity of differentiated cells that serve as a “barrier to tumorigenesis.”
- NOA-gene network; Genes that are essential for cancer cells to cope with the oncogenic stress, are vital for cancer cell survival, but are less critical to non-transformed cells. Thus, they have the potential to be molecular targets for molecular cancer therapy.
Our current projects include:
- Characterizing the role of SUMO-Targeted-Ubiquitin Ligase proteins in human cancers.
- Delineating genes within the ubiquitin and ubiquitin-like pathways that regulate adult gut homeostasis and their role(s) in maintaining enterocyte identity, and de-differentiation and epithelial cancers.
Towards these aims we employ advanced genetic and genomic tools including Drosophila genetics, functional in vivo screens, genomics, biochemistry and cell biology of mammalian cells, mouse-derived intestinal organoids and patient-derived specimens.
More about the lab can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yC53-lREHQg