Ji  Luo, Ph.D.

Ji Luo, Ph.D.

  • Center for Cancer Research
  • National Cancer Institute
  • Building 37, Room 4054B
  • Bethesda, MD 20892
  • 240-760-6931


Our long-term research goals are to understand the biology of the Ras oncogene and identify new therapeutic strategies for Ras mutant tumors. Each year, more than 130,000 patients in the US are diagnosed with cancer with Ras mutations; yet few targeted therapies are effective for these tumors. To better understand how mutant KRAS promotes tumor initiation, tumor maintenance and metastasis, we are investigating how oncogene and non-oncogene addiction pathways cooperatively support the malignant phenotype of KRAS mutant cells. We are dissecting the role of oncogenic stress response including SUMOylation, autophagy and metabolic adaptation in supporting the viability of KRAS mutant colorectal, lung and pancreatic cancer cells. We use a multi-disciplinary approach that integrates functional genomics, systems biology, transcriptomics, proteomics, signal transduction and chemical biology to probe genetic dependencies in KRAS mutant cells. In addition, we are developing new CRISPR gene editing tools and pharmacological tools to identify and validate druggable targets and target combinations in KRAS mutant cells. Ultimately, we aim to translate our discoveries in cancer research into better treatment outcomes for cancer patients.

Areas of Expertise

Ras Oncogene 
Non-Oncogene Addiction and Synthetic Lethality
RNAi and CRISPR Screens


Selected Recent Publications

MAP kinase and autophagy pathways cooperate to maintain RAS mutant cancer cell survival

Lee C-S, Lee LC, Yuan TL, Chakka S, Christof Fellmann C, Scott W. Lowe SW, Caplen NJ, Frank McCormick F, Luo J
PNAS. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1817494116. [Epub ahead of print]: 2019. [ Journal Article ]

Flexible CRISPR library construction using parallel oligonucleotide retrieval.

3. Read A, Gao S, Batchelor E, Luo J.
Nucleic Acids Research. 45(11):e101: 2017. [ Journal Article ]

CRISPR/Cas9-mediated gene knockout is insensitive to target copy number but is dependent on guide RNA potency and Cas9/sgRNA threshold expression level.

2. Yuen G, Khan FJ, Gao S, Stommel JM, Batchelor E, Wu X, Luo J.
Nucleic Acids Research. 45(20):12039-12053: 2017. [ Journal Article ]

Oncogenesis driven by the Ras/Raf pathway requires the SUMO E2 ligase Ubc9.

5. Yu B, Swatkoski S, Holly A, Lee LC, Giroux V, Lee CS, Hsu DJ, Smith JL, Yuen G, Yue J, Ann D, Simpson RM, Creighton CJ, Figg WD, Gucek M, Luo J
PNAS. 112(14):E1724-33: 2015. [ Journal Article ]

Development of siRNA payloads to target KRAS-mutant cancer

Yuan TL, Fellmann C, Lee CS, Ritchie CD, Thapar V, Lee LC, Hsu DJ, Grace D, Carver JO, Zuber J, Luo J, McCormick F, Lowe SW
Cancer Discovery. 4(10): 1182-1197, 2014. [ Journal Article ]

Job Vacancies

There are no open positions at this time. Check back again later, or take a look at CCR's Careers page.


Staff Scientist
Chih-Shia Lee, Ph.D.
Research Fellow
Haibo Zhang, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow (Visiting)
Yeon-Hwa Lee, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow (Visiting)
Wei-Chun Lee, Ph.D.


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