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 cell’s identity and deregulation of such genes is associated with aging and cancer.
Specifically we study two gene networks:

  1. Identity network”; genes that are required to maintain the identity of differentiated cells that serve as a “barrier to tumorigenesis.”
  2. “Non-oncogenic addiction network (NOA)”; 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 targets for molecular cancer therapy.

Our current projects include:

  1. Characterizing the role of SUMO-Targeted-Ubiquitin Ligase in development and human cancers.
  2. Identification of Ub/UbL-related genes that regulate adult gut homeostasis, de-differentiation, and cancer.

Towards these aims we employ advanced genetic and genomic tools including Drosophila genetics, functional screens in vivo, genomics, biochemistry and cell biology of mammalian cells, mouse-derived intestinal organoids and patient-derived specimens.

More about the lab (movie).

 Identity network