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Li Ma

Li Ma

Regular Member

Associate Professor

MDA Z7.3032 (Unit 0066)

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Department of Experimental Radiation Oncology

Overall, my lab focuses on the pursuit of novel determinants of tumor progression and therapy resistance that may revolutionize the prognosis and treatment of breast cancer.

I. Metastasis research:

I have pioneered several aspects of tumor cell signaling and microRNA-mediated regulation of breast cancer metastasis and epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). In particular, I identified the first metastasis-regulating microRNA (Nature 2007), reported the first systemic delivery of microRNA inhibitors as anti-metastatic therapeutics (Nature Biotechnology 2010), and identified an EMT-inducing microRNA which promotes metastasis by directly targeting E-cadherin (Nature Cell Biology 2010). Moreover, my lab identified leukemia inhibitory factor receptor (LIFR) as a novel breast cancer metastasis suppressor downstream of microRNA-9 and upstream of the Hippo-YAP pathway (Nature Medicine, 2012). Recently, we generated several genetically engineered mouse models of metastasis-regulating protein, microRNA and long non-coding RNA, which will enable in vivo confirmation of their functions in tumor progression.

II. Radioresistance research:

Besides its involvement in breast cancer metastasis, EMT has been implicated in properties of cancer stem cells, such as chemoresistance and radioresistance. My lab has extended our main research interest to the role of EMT-regulating transcription factors and microRNAs in radiation response. Our studies will reveal the functions and molecular mechanisms of specific EMT regulators in radioresistance and DNA repair, and may lead to discovery of biomarkers of radiation sensitivity and development of strategies to selectively sensitize tumors to radiotherapy.

A tutorial in this laboratory provides training in non-coding RNA, tumor metastasis, therapy resistance and mouse models of cancer.

PubMed (pre-MDACC publications)

PubMed (MDACC publications)

MDACC Faculty

Ma Lab

Education & Training

Ph.D. - Cornell University - 2006

Research Info

breast cancer metastasis; breast tumor radioresistance & drug resistance; regulation of key breast cancer proteins & pathways by deubiquitining enzymes