- Molecular Therapeutics
- Biochemistry & Biophysics and Pharmacology
- UNC-Chapel Hill
- 3016 Genetic Medicine Bldg
Area of Interest
CIB1 and Cancer
Cancerous tumor cells often proliferate rapidly. Once tumors grow beyond a few mm in size, they require blood vessels to provide nourishment in order to grow further. Endothelial cells are essential for blood vessel formation or angiogenesis. An ideal anti-cancer target would prevent both angiogenesis and tumor cell proliferation. CIB1 is a small calcium binding protein that is expressed in multiple cell types, including endothelial cells and cancer cells, and appears to be a very important regulatory molecule. For example, CIB1 binds to multiple serine/threonine kinases and some other types of proteins to regulate their function. We found that efficient tumor-induced blood vessel growth depends upon CIB1. If endothelial cells do not express CIB1, the cells grow more slowly and tumor-induced blood vessel formation and tumor growth is impaired. In addition, if CIB1 levels are decreased in breast cancer cells and neuroblastoma, these cells die by an unusual mechanism. These properties therefore make CIB1 a promising anti-cancer target.
Platelets and Cancer
Platelets are tiny blood cells that can aggregate at sites of vascular injury to prevent blood loss. However, they also cause thrombotic events such as heart attacks, strokes and related thrombotic disorders. In addition, they help cancerous tumor cells metastases. It is therefore critical to understand mechanisms that regulate and activate platelets. We are using cutting-edge proteomic approaches to identify new pathways in platelets that can be targeted to safely control their activity.
Awards and Honors
- Associate Editor, Blood Journal
- Advisory Committee, ASBMB
- Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science
- Fellow, Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine
- Chair, Biochemistry & Biophysics at UNC-CH