Chengkai Dai, Ph.D.

Chengkai Dai, Ph.D.

  • Center for Cancer Research
  • National Cancer Institute
Mouse Cancer Genetics Program


Dr. Dai's laboratory is a pioneer in the field of proteomic instability of cancer. The recent findings from his laboratory have revealed the intimate interactions between the proteotoxic stress response and RAS/MAPK-MEK signaling, cell cycle regulation, protein translation, as well as tumor-suppressive amyloidogenesis. His ongoing research focuses on the molecular mechanisms through which proteomic instability may affect genomic stability, cell invasion, and autophagy, areas which hold promise to unveil new molecular pathways that could be targeted in cancer

Dr. Dai is a 2015-2016 NIH Stadtman tenure track investigator.

Areas of Expertise

Proteomic Instability of Cancer
Proteotoxic Stress Response
Genetically Engineered Mouse Models (GEMM) of Cancer


Selected Key Publications

Heat shock factor 1 (HSF1) specifically potentiates c-MYC-mediated transcription independently of the canonical heat shock response

Meng Xu , Ling Lin , Babul Moni Ram , Omprakash Shriwas , Kun-Han Chuang , Siyuan Dai , Kuo-Hui Su , Zijian Tang , Chengkai Dai
Cell Reports. 42(6):112557. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep: 2023.
Full-Text Article
[ Journal Article ]

HSF1 physically neutralizes amyloid oligomers to empower overgrowth and bestow neuroprotection.

Tang Z, Su KH, Xu M, and Dai C.
Science Advances. 6(46):eabc6871: 2020.
Full-Text Article
[ Journal Article ]

Heat Shock Factor 1 Is a Direct Antagonist of AMP-Activated Protein Kinase

Su KH, Dai S, Tang Z, Xu M, Dai C
Mol Cell. 76(4): 546-61, 2019. [ Journal Article ]

HSF1 critically attunes proteotoxic-stress sensing by mTORC1 to combat stress and promote growth

Su K-H, Cao J, Dai S, Tang Z, He Y, Sampson SB, Benjamin IV, and Dai C.
Nature Cell Biology. 18(5): 527-539, 2016. [ Journal Article ]

MEK guards proteome stability and inhibits tumor-suppressive amyloidogenesis via HSF1

Tang Z, Dai S, He Y, Doty RA, Shultz LD, Sampson SB, and Dai C.
Cell. 160(4): 729-744, 2015. [ Journal Article ]

Job Vacancies

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Postdoctoral Fellow (Visiting)
Babul Moni Ram, Ph.D.
Research Fellow
Ling Lin, Ph.D.
Visiting Fellow
Omprakash Shriwas, Ph.D.


Congratulations on the tenure-track faculty positions of Drs. Kuo-Hui Su and Zijian Tang!

Currently, Dai Lab has two vacancies for Postdoctoral position. Motivated candidates are encouraged to apply.