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NJCCR Fellowships awarded to Molecular Biology

pu shieldJoanna Haye and Chase Hulderman, graduate students in Rose/Gammie and Kang labs, were awarded the NJCCR pre-doctoral fellowship. The long term goal of  Joanna Haye’s proposal “Understanding the mechanism of DNA mismatch repair” is to gain a better understanding of the mechanism of DNA mismatch repair.  This will  open new avenues for discovery of targeted therapeutics for hereditary and sporadic cancers caused by defects in DNA mismatch repair. The proposal from Chase Hulderman, an MD/PhD student, 'Ubiquitin-dependent regulation of EMT and metastasis' hypothesizes that  E3 ubiquitin ligases may play crucial roles in regulating breast cancer metastasis by targeting   master transcriptional regulators of metastasis for ubiquitination and degradation. In his  proposed study,  Chase will use a series of biochemical analyses, in vitro and in vivo metastasis assays, and clinical correlation studies to investigate the role of   candidate ligases  in  breast cancer progression and metastasis. This study will lay the foundation for systemically identify E3 ligases and deubiquitinases involved in the post-translational regulation of EMT transcriptional factors and other metastasis-related proteins.

In addition, Dr. Mo Weng, a postdoctoral fellow in the Wieschaus lab,  and Antoni Celia-Terrassa, a postdoctoral fellow in the Kang laboratory, were awarded the NJCCR post-doctoral fellowships.   Dr. Weng’s proposal “Mechanical force-induced cell-cell junction remodeling” explores the role of mechanical force in remodeling adherents junctions in the context of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) – a process that is essential for normal development and greatly resembles the initial phase of cancer metastasis.  Dr. Celia-Terrassa plans to evaluate the role of secreted exosomal miRNAs in breast cancer progression and metastasis.  Recent studies have implicated secreted exosomes (microvesicles) as a new system of intercellular communication involved in physiological and pathological processes, including cancer. This exosomes have been shown to carry and transfer functional miRNAs in addition to proteins, providing a novel angle for study cancer metastasis.

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