Research Area

  1. Ovarian Cancer Initiation, Progression, and Metastasis

High-grade serous ovarian cancer

We study high-grade serous ovarian cancer, the most malignant form of ovarian cancer, and accounts for up to 70% of all ovarian cancer cases. To understand the initiation, progression, and metastasis of ovarian cancer, we apply novel genetically engineered mouse ovarian cancer models, 3D cell culture, organoids, and cancer omics such as cancer genomics, proteomics, and metabolomics.

2. Targeting Ubiquitin-Deubiquitin System for Cancer Therapy

Deubiquitinating enzymes (DUBs) have an essential role in several cell biological processes via controlling the various ubiquitin patterns as posttranslational modification forms from the target proteins. We study a deubiquitinase enzyme, Ubiquitin-specific peptidase 13 (USP13), which is highly amplified in ovarian cancer and lung cancer. Using unique genetically engineered mouse (GEM) models, we aim to understand the unique role of USP13 in cancer cell plasticity, tumorigenesis, and metastasis, which will lead to novel therapeutics targeting USP13 in USP13-amplified cancers in the future.

3. Role of RNA-Binding Proteins in Non-coding RNAs and Cancer

DEAD-Box RNA Helicases in Non-coding RNAs and Oncoimmunology

An RNA-binding protein, DEAD-Box RNA Helicase 3X (DDX3X) regulates various types of non-coding RNAs, including microRNAs, small RNAs, and long non-coding RNAs. DDX3X regulates cellular endogenous dsRNA homeostasis, and inhibiting DDX3X triggers dsRNA-sensing innate immune signaling in breast cancer and enhances anti-tumor activity. Aligned with in-depth molecular mechanistic studies, immune-competent syngeneic mouse models, our unique DDX3X conditional knockout mouse model, we study the molecular mechanism by which DDX3X controls oncogenic or immunogenic cellular non-coding RNAs, and explore the therapeutic implications of targeting DDX3X in cancer.