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Laboratory of Molecular Biology

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The Laboratory of Molecular Biology pursues 3 major areas of research to understand and treat cancer. One area comprises the study of antibody based cancer treatments for hematologic, liver and mesothelin based cancers. Another area is modeling of thyroid hormone based cancers. The third area focuses on basic biochemical processes of gene transcription, post-translational regulation, molecular chaperone systems that manage protein damage, and the localization and assembly of large protein structures.

Dr. Pastan carries out research directed at designing, producing, and testing recombinant immunotoxins to treat cancer. Recombinant immunotoxins (RIT) are genetically modified forms of Pseudomonas exotoxin A that are targeted to cancer cells by Fv portion of antibodies. Cancer targets include CD22, expressed on many B cell leukemias, and mesothelin, expressed on mesothelioma, pancreatic cancer and other solid tumors. Dr. Kreitman studies Hairy Cell Leukemia therapies and conducts clinical trials of recombinant immunotoxins for Hairy Cell Leukemia as well as other hematologic malignancies. Dr. Fitzgerald studies toxin- and immunotoxin-mediated cell death as well as strategies to make immunotoxin treatments more effective as cancer therapy agents. Dr. Ho uses antibody engineering to generate novel antibodies for cancer treatment. His group has developed new antibodies to glypican 3 that inhibit liver tumor growth and are exploring their mechanism of action.

Dr. Cheng has developed mouse models of thyroid cancer and other thyroid hormone-related human diseases to elucidate molecular events in the development and progression of these diseases and to identify molecular targets for prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.

Dr. Adhya studies the mechanism and control of gene transcription, emphasizing the structure, function, and dynamics of the transcription intermediates and their regulatory complexes. Dr. Gottesman studies post-transcriptional regulation in bacteria, focusing on small regulatory RNAs and regulated proteolysis. Dr. Wickner's group studies the mechanisms by which ATP-dependent molecular chaperone machines reactivate damaged proteins, solubilize protein aggregates and target irreversibly inactivated proteins for proteolysis. Understanding these mechanisms is providing the foundation for the development of drugs that target chaperones for use in treating cancer. Dr. Ramamurthi studies how proteins localize to particular regions within the cell and how they subsequently assemble into large structures.

This page was last updated on 7/1/2014.