Our lab studies the regulatory mechanisms of gene expression in stem cells during normal development and tumorigenesis. Stem cells have the potential to develop into many different cell types for regenerative medicine, but they are also the source of at least some, perhaps, all cancers. The normal and cancerous behavior of stem cells may be determined by their unique pattern of gene expression. We are using integrative computational and experimental approaches to identify, verify and characterize the genetic regulatory elements, e.g., the conserved non-coding DNA sequences and their interacting protein factors that involved in the gene regulation in stem cells. A thorough understanding of these mechanisms will provide the knowledge of stem cell development into various normal cell types as a repair system for the body, as well as a basis for the therapeutic treatment of cancer.
Clinical or Educational Responsibilities
As an Associate Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME), I have served as a faculty class adviser for BME undergraduates, a member on the NIH Biotech graduate training program (current), NSF IGERT program (2008-2013), Undergraduate and Graduate Curriculum Committees of BME Program, the Admissions Committee of BME Graduate Program (2008-2012), and Qualifying Exam Committee of Molecular Biosciences Graduate Program (2008-2011). I teach senior undergraduate course “Tissue Engineering” in the Spring semester and graduate course “Structure and Dynamics in Adult and Stem Cell Biology”.