- 1095 V A Drive
- 258 HSRB
My laboratory currently has three research areas: (1) Epigenetic mechanisms of metal carcinogenesis; (2) Mechanisms of breast cancer metastasis; and (3) Nanoparticle-mediated cancer therapy. The goals of my research are to understand the mechanism of cancer initiation and metastasis; and to develop mechanism-based cancer prevention and therapeutic strategies. Epigenetics refers to heritable alterations in the pattern of gene expression that are not caused by changes in DNA sequence, but are mediated by DNA methylation, histone posttranslational modifications, and non-coding RNAs such as microRNAs (miRNAs) and long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs). It is now well recognized that epigenetics is often deregulated in cancer and that epigenetics deregulation plays important roles in cancer development and progression. Cancer stem cells (CSCs) are cancer cells possessing characteristics of normal stem cells and CSCs or CSC-like cells are considered as cancer initiating and maintaining cells. While the mechanisms of generating CSCs or CSC-like cells are not elucidated, studies showed that deregulation of epigenetics play important roles in producing CSCs or CSC-like cells. Metal carcinogens such as arsenic, cadmium and hexavalent chromium [Cr(VI)], are common environmental contaminants causing lung and other cancer. However, the mechanism of metal carcinogenesis has not been clearly defined. The research work in my laboratory investigates how metal carcinogen exposures cause epigenetic deregulation and how deregulated epigenetics contributes to metal carcinogenesis. Cancer is now considered as a stem cell disease, our research studies the mechanism by which metal carcinogen exposures produce cancer stem cell-like cells. Our cancer metastasis studies focus on triple negative breast cancer (TNBC), which usually has more aggressive metastasis and worse prognosis with no effective targeted therapies being available. Our research work investigates the role of microRNAs (miRNAs) and long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) in TNBC metastasis. Based on the molecular targets identified from our non-coding RNA studies, we are exploring the therapeutic effects of nanoparticle-mediated active-targeting anticancer drug/gene delivery approaches. Note: Graduate students and postdoctoral positions are available to study the epigenetic mechanisms of metal carcinogenesis and triple negative breast cancer metastasis.
1. Humphries, B., Wang, Z., Li, Y., Jhan, J.R., Jiang, Y., Yang, C. ARHGAP18 downregulation by miR-200b suppresses metastasis of triple negative breast cancer by enhancing activation of RhoA. Cancer Research 2017 Jun 15. pii: canres.3141.2016. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-16-3141. [Epub ahead of print]
2. Li, Y., Humphries, B., Wang, Z., Lang, S., Huang, X., Xiao, H., Jiang, Y. Yang, C. Complex coacervation-integrated hybrid nanoparticles increase plasmid DNA delivery efficiency in vivo. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 8: 30735-30746. 2016
3. Wang, Z., Humphries, B., Xiao, H., Jiang, Y., and Yang, C. MicroRNA-200b Suppresses Arsenic-transformed Cell Migration by Targeting Protein Kinase Cα and Wnt5b-Protein Kinase Cα Positive Feedback Loop and Inhibiting Rac1 Activation. Journal Biological Chemistry 289: 18373-86. 2014.
4. Humphries, B., Wang, Z., Oom, A.L., Fisher, T., Tan, D., Cui, Y., Jiang, Y., and Yang, C. MicroRNA-200b targets protein kinase Cα and suppresses triple negative breast cancer tumor metastasis. Carcinogenesis 35: 2254-63. 2014.
5. Wang, Z., Humphries, B., Xiao, H., Jiang, Y., and Yang, C. Epithelial to mesenchymal transition in arsenic-transformed cells promotes angiogenesis through activating β-catenin-vascular endothelial growth factor pathway. Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology 271: 20–29. 2013.
6. Wang, Z., Yang, J., Fisher, T., Xiao, H., Jiang, Y., and Yang, C. Akt Activation is Responsible for Enhanced Migratory and Invasive Behavior of Arsenic-Transformed Human Bronchial Epithelial Cells. Environmental Health Perspectives 120: 92-97. 2012.
7. Wang, Z., Zhao, Y., Smith, E., Goodall, G.J., Drew, P.A., Babletz, T., and Yang, C. Reversal and prevention of arsenic-induced human bronchial epithelial cell malignant transformation by microRNA-200b. Toxicological Sciences 121: 110-122. 2011.
8. Zhao, Y., Wang, Z., Jiang, Y., and Yang, C. Inactivation of Rac1 reduces trastuzumab resistance in PTEN deficient and insulin-like growth factor I receptor overexpressing human breast cancer SKBR3 cells. Cancer Letters 313: 54-63. 2011.