Molecular mechanism of stress response, aging, cancer therapeutics: My research focuses on functions of TGF-b signaling in animal development. The transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) superfamily consists of a large group of secreted growth factors that regulate various cell responses such as cell arrest, cell proliferation, apoptosis, cell differentiation, tumor genesis, and tumor metastasis. Our studies on TGF-b signaling components in stress response will impact cancer therapy strategy
Stress affects aging significantly. Genetic mutations resulting in high tolerance of stress cues often live longer, whereas mutations bearing lower tolerance often live shorter. There are various signal pathways that regulate stress response and aging. We are using C. elegans as a model to dissect the molecular aspects of stress response and evaluate how genes affect aging process, in particular the DBL-1 / TGF-beta pathway components.
Genes regulating stress response affect significantly the efficiency of cancer therapy. One type of cellular stress response often results in cross-protection of other stressor in cells. Stress response genes and pathways could be therapeutic targets for cancers. Meanwhile, TGF-beta signaling components are mutated in various cancers at various frequencies. Altered gene expression also plays important role in tumor progression and tumor metastasis. Our studies on TGF-beta signaling components in stress response will impact cancer therapy strategy.