Associate Professor, Cell and Molecular Biology; Feinberg School of Medicine
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Nucleolus, nucleus, chromatin, nuclear structure and function, cancer, growth-regulations, signal-transductions,
I have long been interested in the understanding of nuclear structure and function in normal and cancer cells. My long term goal is to solve the puzzle of the perinucleolar compartment (PNC) and its functional roles in malignancy. PNC, an irregular subnuclear structure associated with the nucleolus, predominantly forms in advance transformed cells and a high PNC prevalence in primary tumor correlates with a poor patient outcome. We believe that PNC formation reflects milestone changes in cancer cells that confer metastatic capability. Therefore, PNC prevalence can serve as a tumor marker for malignant potential of a given cancer cell population. Small compounds that induce the disassembly of the PNC may alter the cell behavior towards benign. As a proof of principle, we have identified a group of small compounds and some of which have now shown selective inhibition of human cancer growth in mouse models with very little toxicity. The near future goal is to further develop some of these small compounds towards clinical applications.