Molecular Signaling and Cancer Biology

Research includes:

  • Apoptosis
  • Cancer Biology
  • Cell Cycle
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Chemokines
  • Growth Factors
  • Lipid Mediators
  • Oncogenes
  • Phosphoproteomics
  • Protein Kinases
  • Protein Phosphatases
  • Protein Phosphorylation
  • Signal Transduction
  • Suppressor Genes
  • Therapeutic Targets in Cancer
  • Transcription Factors

Training Group Mission:

The mission of the Molecular Signaling and Cancer Biology Training Group is to educate the next generation of biomedical scientists in the understanding of the basic processes of molecular signal transduction. This knowledge will be applied to the study of differentiation, development, apoptosis and growth of normal and abnormal (malignant) cells and the treatment of disease states, with a special emphasis on cancer. The group encourages and facilitates development of integrated, interdisciplinary approaches by promoting interactions with faculty representing research areas such as cancer biology, cancer pharmacology, biomedical engineering, and chemical biology. The Training Group provides opportunities for development of independent and critical thinking skills by fostering participation in scientific seminars and research forums and will provide specialized graduate courses in the areas of Signal Transduction and the Molecular Basis of Cancer. These opportunities provide students with a strong foundation in biochemistry, molecular and cellular biology, and cancer biology preparing them for a wide range of career opportunities in academia and industry.

Faculty Membership

Research Area

Protein trafficking and membrane transport in relation to the processes of cell polarity establishment and carcinogenic transformation

Epigenetic mechanisms in liver cancer pathogenesis due to chronic infection with the Hepatitis B Virus.

Role of histone methylation in gene expression and oncogenesis
Cell and developmental biology, membrane trafficking, molecular genetics, cell polarity

Our research focuses on understanding critical epigenetic mechanisms involved in the regulation of the stem cell plasticity and the stem cell fate in breast cancer, and translating the promising basic research findings into innovative clinical applications, aiming to impact the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of breast cancer.

Structure and function of large protein complexes; Cryo-electron microscopy.

Chemical Immunology: Cell specific chemical perturbation of immune microenvironments in cancer, neurological and immunological disorders

We work on understanding and targeting epigenetic regulators in cancer initiation, progression, and chemotherapy resistance.

Our laboratory develops strategies that can leverage the immune system to simultaneously repair bone and control inflammation or cell viability. The overall
therapy goals are to (a) treat tumors and repair bone in tumor models and (b) treat and repair cartilage/bone in arthritis models.

Regulation of mineral metabolism, molecular actions of vitamin D in calcium metabolism and cancer prevention, gene-environment interactions influencing bone/calcium metabolism or cancer
Environmental and molecular toxicology, genomics, and cytogenetics
Diseases associated with obesity, outcomes following weight loss
Macromolecular sequences and the evolution, structure and function of molecules; databases and computational tools for functional genomics

The Hall lab is generally interested in mechanisms cell cycle control that protect genome stability. Our work provides insight into how normal cells maintain genome fidelity during the complex process of cell division and how defects in the regulation of cell division can lead to various forms of genome instability and disease, including cancer.

Functional genomics and systems biology
Multidrug resistance in human cancer
Molecular biology, cell biology, cancer biology and molecular imaging
Biological roles of miRNAs and their use as cancer therapeutics
Dietary Control of Adipose Development and Its Function
Epigenetic processes that mediate heritable modifications to chromatin
Gene expression during mammalian development; cancer model systems
bio-organic chemistry, bioconjugate chemistry, in vitro evolution, drug discovery
Stem cell biology; Muscle development and regeneration; Signaling regulation of satellite cells; Adipose stem cell; muscle-fat interaction
Understanding how the cell nucleus directs expression and stability of the genome and how tissue architecture influences nuclear organization; development of 3D cell culture and organ-on-a-chip models for discovery of targets and cell nucleus-based readouts in cancer prevention and treatment;

Immunotherapy, A regulatory mechanism of anti-tumor immunity, A resistance mechanism of target therapy and/or immunotherapy, Antibody engineering

Roles of Polo-like kinase 1 and its interacting proteins in cell proliferation and carcinogenesis
Development of targeted therapic and imaging agents for cancer and various inflammatory diseases. Function and molecular organization of the human red blood cell membrane. Novel methods for detection of human pathogens.

Understanding the regulation of phospholipase C enzymes in cardiovascular disease and cancer through macromolecular structure determination and functional assays.

Biochemistry, Signal Transduction, Microbiology
MDM2, p53, cerebellar development and tumorigenesis, mouse models of human disease
Physics of light interaction with living tissue

In the Parkinson lab, we focus on the discovery of novel antibiotic and anticancer natural products from cryptic biosynthetic gene clusters found in soil dwelling

Computational chemistry and biological NMR
Microbial pathogenesis; host-parasite interactions; molecular detection and differentiation of microbial pathogens; recombinant and DNA vaccines
NeuroEngineering / Cellular Neurobiology
Signal transduction and protein Ser/Thr phosphatases
Ecology of natural systems, ecotoxicology, animal health
Drug Discovery in Cancer and Alzheimer's Disease Using Chemical Biology Tools
Cancer prevention with diet-derived bioactive compounds; pancreatic and breast cancer chemoprevention
Macromolecular structure and assembly using X-ray crystallography; membrane associated proteins; enzyme structure and function
Cell signaling and morphogenesis in the leaf epidermis
Activity-dependent metabolic and oxidative stress in neurons and glia; protein engineering; biosensors; live-cell microscopy; Parkinson’s; glioma; TBI
Proteomics and biological mass spectrometry
Oncogene expression in eukaryotic cells
Vitamin D and cancer Vitamin D and calcium regulation of body composition
We primarily study the molecular basis of GPCR-mediated signal transduction, principally via the techniques of X-ray crystallography and single particle electron microscopy. By determining atomic structures of signaling proteins alone and in complex with their various targets, we can provide important insights into the molecular basis of signal transduction and how diseases result from dysfunctional regulation. The lab is also interested in rational drug design and the development of biotherapeutic enzymes.
Defining the Molecular Basis for p68 (Dbp2) in Gene Expression and Cellular Proliferation
Signal transduction in development; mechanisms of robustness, cell fate decisions, and tissue patterning by morphogen gradients
The Wendt lab conducts molecular pharmacology research focused on metastatic breast cancer. We use a combination of molecular, biochemical, cell biological and whole animal studies to evaluate the impact of anticancer therapies on EMT induction and metastatic progression. Specifically, we utilize a variety of 3D and multicellular colculture models to evaluate growth factor signaling, pharmacological response to anti-cancer drugs, and as a platform for genetic and compound screening assays. In addition to these in vitro approaches we have developed novel in vivo mouse models of metastasis and drug resistance. We utilize these models in combination with bioluminesent imaging as a robust approach to locate and quantify metastatic progression.
Signal transduction in cancer biology, early neuronal development and cancer metabolism.
Phytohormone ethylene biosynthesis and its signaling pathway in Arabidopsis thaliana
Cancer biology; Zebrafish cancer Model; Comparative oncogenomics; Evolutionary developmental biology (Evo-Devo)
Protein tyrosine phosphatases (PTPs), structure and function, PTP-mediated cellular signaling mechanisms, roles of PTPs in normal physiology and diseases, chemical biology and drug discovery

Ernest C. Young Hall, Room 170 | 155  S. Grant Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2114 | 765-494-2600

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