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microRNA mediated gene regulation in cancer
Sarcomas are a heterogeneous group of malignant tumors with over 50 different types. Currently very few diagnostic markers exist that distinguish one sarcoma type from another. DNA microarray studies have identified the differentially expressed genes in various sarcomas. Many of these genes may be regulated by a class of small RNAs called microRNAs. MicroRNAs are evolutionarily conserved non-coding regulatory small RNAs that display tissue and stage specific expression. About 1000 microRNAs are identified in humans, which make them attractive candidates for developing novel biomarkers and targets for therapy.
Our laboratory is basically interested in understanding the microRNA (miRNA) mediated gene regulatory networks in sarcoma and other cancer types. We explore miRNA-mRNA associations that have potential role in tumor onset, progression, and aggressiveness through miRNA and mRNA profiling as well as functional characterization of candidate miRNAs using in vitro and in vivo approaches. This will aid in the identification and development of novel miRNA-based biomarkers and targets for therapy. Our laboratory also is interested in engineering miRNA dysregulation in vivo and developing assays for screening small molecule inhibitors that can potentially modulate miRNA expression. The specific areas of research includes
Understanding the role of miRNAs in malignant transformation process.
Characterization of miRNA regulatory networks using comparative oncology of human and canine osteosarcoma.
Molecular mechanisms of microRNA expression and regulations.
- Competing endogenous RNA (ceRNAs) in cancer gene regulation.