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NiketaPatel

Niketa Patel, Ph.D.

Assoc Professor, COLLEGE OF MEDICINE MOLECULAR MEDICINE
  • Obesity continues to escalate as a significant public health problem and as the leading preventable cause of death. Genetic, environmental, behavioral, and socioeconomic factors cause excess weight gain and obesity. Increased proliferation and differentiation of pre-adipocytes to mature adipocytes (adipogenesis) within the fat tissues are central to obesity. Apoptosis, or programmed cell death, is an integral part of the cell cycle. Research from our laboratory involves elucidation of the biochemical and molecular mechanisms in the study of adipogenesis. Protein kinase C (PKC)d, a member of the novel PKC (nPKC) subfamily, plays an important role in the regulation of cell apoptosis. The focus of this laboratory is to decipher the molecular mechanisms regulating alternative expression of PKCĀ“ isoforms. Our laboratory has recently identified a new human PKCdelta isoform generated by alternative splicing. Alternative splicing is now acknowledged as being pivotal in generating the protein diversity required to fine tune the cellular functions. Regulation of alternative splicing involves interplay of the cis-elements with the trans-acting factors such as SR proteins and hnRNPs. This is currently being investigated using molecular biology techniques and cloning of minigenes to facilitate the identification of the splicing components in this system.
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RyanGreen

Ryan Green, M.S.

Graduate Research Assistant, COLLEGE OF MEDICINE MOLECULAR MEDICINE
  • Cancer therapy is often initially successful only to be followed by recurrence of drug resistant disease. I am interested in studying this phenomenon. Work in my lab has revealed an important signaling pathway involved in tumorigenesis: natriuretic peptide receptor A (NPRA). The loss of NPRA signaling reduces angiogenesis and tumor growth and NPRA modulates the homing of somatic stem cells to tumors by altering the expression of C-X-C chemokine receptor 4. We have also developed a 3D fibrous scaffold to use as a cell culture environment. I would like to apply these findings to the study of cancer stem cells. CSCs are a sub population of cancer cells that express stem cell transcription factors associated with-self renewal, are drug resistant and initiate metastasis. My hypothesis is that NPRA signaling modulates CXCR4 expression in cancer cells leading to metastasis and an increase in the CSC population. I will also investigate the effects of 3D culture on the CSC population.
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Ph.D. Students

SarahFontaine

Sarah Fontaine, PhD

Postdoctoral Scholar Research, COLLEGE OF MEDICINE MOLECULAR MEDICINE
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