|Assistant Professor of MCD Biology
B. S., Peking University
Ph.D., Columbia University
Postdoctorate, Columbia University Medical Center
We have a long-term interest in understanding how different cells behave during organ development and how their abnormalities lead to diseases such as cancer. We address these problems by using mouse genetic approaches coupled with suitable biochemical and system biology tools. Currently, our research is focused on two linked areas.
Prostate organ development and homeostasis
The prostate gland is a multiple tubule-like structure in the male reproductive system, and is regulated by androgen. Repeated ablation and administration of testosterone results in cycles of prostate regression and regeneration, implying the existence of tissue stem cells. The two major cell types in the prostate epithelium are basal cells and secretory luminal cells. In vivo genetic lineage-tracing studies have identified luminal cells that express the transcription factor Nkx3.1 and rare basal cells in the regressed prostate in mediating organ regeneration. We are investigating the cellular lineage relationship and the molecular signalings involved in these processes.
Cellular behaviors in prostate cancer initiation
Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in men in the United States. Recent cancer genomics studies have suggested a variety of genetic alterations that may play a role in cancer initiation. Yet in which cells these genetic alterations occur remains unknown. There has been evidence suggesting that tumors originating from different cell types could have distinct pathology and disease outcomes. We attempt to identify the cell of origin for prostate cancer and dissect the interactions of basal and luminal cells in cancer initiation using mouse models, with the goal of translating our findings to better therapeutics.
Please follow this link to find the lab's publications in the National Library of Medicine's PubMed database.
A model for the cellular lineage relationship in prostate homeostasis and cancer initiation. For details see Wang et al. 2013 Nat Cell Bio. 15:274-283.