Ira O. Daar, Ph.D.

Ira O. Daar, Ph.D.
Senior Investigator
Head, Developmental Signal Transduction Section

In our laboratory, we focus on the Eph/ephrin signaling system, and specifically how the ephrinB transmembrane ligands for Eph receptor tyrosine kinases send signals affecting cell-cell junctions and cell movement. This signaling affects morphogenesis during development and has been shown to play an instructive role in angiogenesis, as well as tumor cell invasion.

Areas of Expertise

1) Xenopus embryogenesis, 2) development, 3) signal transduction, 4) Eph/ephrin,
5) cell-cell adhesion, 6) cell migration

Contact Info

Ira O. Daar, Ph.D.
Center for Cancer Research
National Cancer Institute
Building 560, Room 12-88
Frederick, MD 21702-1201
Ph: 301-846-1667

Developmental Signal Transduction

Cell-cell adhesion maintains intercellular connections between neighboring epithelial cells for normal morphogenetic movements during development. Disruption of this critical process is also one of the earliest steps in metastatic progression of cancer cells. Our laboratory has focused on providing mechanistic insights into how the Eph/ephrin signaling system affects cell-cell interactions; specifically, how the ephrinB transmembrane ligands send signals affecting cell-cell junctions, adhesion, and cell movement. This signaling affects morphogenesis during development, as well as tumor cell invasion in the disease state. We often employ the Xenopus system since we have found it to be a powerful tool for understanding the contribution of several signaling molecules to developmental and cellular processes. Thus, Eph/ephrin and Wnt/Planar Cell Polarity signal transduction can be assessed morphologically, histologically, as well as biochemically in a developing vertebrate. Although the bidirectional signaling between ephrinBs and their receptors is quite complex, it is clear that control of the expression and interplay between these proteins may have important effects on malignant transformation and metastatic progression. Our future direction is aimed toward a mechanistic understanding of the cross-talk between the Wnt and Eph/Ephrin systems; using an interdisciplinary approach to research by integrating the use of biochemical and developmental techniques to further our studies.

NIH Scientific Focus Areas:
Cancer Biology, Cell Biology, Developmental Biology
View Dr. Daar's PubMed Summary.

Selected Key Publications

  1. Lee M, Hwang YS, Yoon J, Sun J, Harned A, Nagashima K, and Daar IO
    Journal of Cell Biology. 218 issue 8: 2019. [ Journal Article ]
  2. Yoon J, Hwang YS, Lee M, Sun J, Cho HJ, Knapik L, Daar IO
    Nature Commun. 9: 3491, 2018. [ Journal Article ]
  3. Cho HJ, Hwang YS, Yoon J, Lee M, Lee HG, Daar IO
    Oncogene. 37: 861-872, 2018. [ Journal Article ]
  4. Cho HJ, Hwang YS, Mood K, Ji YJ, Lim J, Morrison DK, Daar IO.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry. 289: 18556-68, 2014. [ Journal Article ]
  5. i YJ, Hwang YS, Mood K, Cho HJ, Lee HS, Winterbottom E, Cousin H, Daar IO.
    Nat Commun. Mar 24;5:3516. doi: 10.1038/ncomms4516: 2014. [ Journal Article ]

Dr. Ira Daar obtained his Ph.D. degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo under the supervision of Dr. Lynne Maquat. There he investigated the molecular defects underlying common glycolytic enzyme deficiencies, and performed some of the earliest studies on nonsense- mediated mRNA decay. He obtained his postdoctoral training with Dr. George Vande Woude at NCI, investigating signal transduction events and cell cycle control points influenced by oncogene function. His present work focuses on signal transduction pathways that regulate cell-cell adhesion and cell movement.

Name Position
Jaeho Yoon, Ph.D. Staff Scientist
Moonsup Lee Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow (CRTA)
Yoo-Seok Hwang Ph.D. Research Biologist
Jian Sun Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow (Visiting)
David DeLaRosa B.S. Postbaccalaureate Fellow (CRTA)
Hyun-Kyung Lee Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow (Visiting)
Leena Pade M.S. Predoctoral Visiting Fellow (Graduate Student), UMD-NCI Partnership for Integrative Cancer Research