WELCOME to Laboratory of Signaling and Epigenetics !!!
As scientists, we always wonder how Mother Nature does all amazing things in the world. And of course, as life scientists, our questions revolve around how life is created and maintained by the very basic unit of life, i.e. the cell. For example;
How do a single zygotic cell, then pluripotent inner cell mass cells and adult stem cells altogether produce more than two hundred cell types in the body ?
How do different cell types transfer their cellular identity and memory to daughter cells ?
Can we change memory of one cell type to another, for example from glial cells to neurons, aiming toward regenerative medicine purpose ?
How is memory of normal, non-cancerous stem cells transformed to malignant memory of cancer stem cells ? How is memory of these malignant cells maintained ? And can we perturb this “malignant memory” ?
So...like us...cells do have memory ! This "epigenetic" memory of diverse cell types is controlled by complex mechanisms involving different signal transduction pathways which convey signaling message to the nucleus. Thus cell signaling then crosstalks to transcription factors, chromatin modifying complexes, non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) and RNA regulators including RNA helicases and RNA modifying enzymes such as RNA methyltransferases and pseudouridine synthases. These RNA regulators play a significant role in many epigenetic phenomena. They are not only important for developmental processes, but also for progression of cancers.
Thus our goal is to understand how cell signaling pathways transfer their information to maintain or alter epigenetic memory, particularly mediated by RNA regulators.
Toward this end, we combine biochemical, molecular and cell biology and bioinformatic techniques to study our models of interest, i.e. pluripotent stem cells, mesenchymal stem cells, neurogenesis and brain tumors. Our ultimate goal is to achieve novel strategies of epigenetic therapy that can be applied toward regenerative medicine and eradication of cancer stem cells.