Dr. Dung-Fang Lee
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
McGovern Medical School
Department of Integrative Biology and Pharmacology
In vitro modeling of human disease has recently become possible due to induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) methodologies. Characterized by their ability to self-renew indefinitely and differentiate into all cell lineages of an organism like embryonic stem (ES) cells, iPSCs provide a powerful and unlimited source of cells to generate differentiated cells that can be used to elucidate disease pathogenesis, for drug discovery and development, toxicology screening, personalized healthcare and eventually cell transplantation-based therapies.
Our laboratory is dedicated to understand cancer pathological mechanisms by applying pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) including patient-specific iPSCs and engineered ESCs. We have modelled familial cancer disease Li-Fraumeni syndrome (LFS) by using patient-derived iPSCs and delineated the pathological mechanisms caused by mutant p53 in osteosarcoma. Currently we focus on (1) Systems-level analyses and characterization of mutant p53 in LFS-associated osteosarcoma by using osteoblasts derived from genetically TALEN/CRISPR engineered PSCs. (2) Systematic analyses of genome alterations during tumor progression to identify the potential second hit required for osteosarcoma formation. (3) Model other familial cancer syndromes with osteosarcoma predisposition by patient-derived iPSCs to explore the central pathological mechanisms triggering osteosarcoma development.
A tutorial in our laboratory would provide experience with PSC disease modelling and cancer genetics including PSC culture, tissue differentiation, TALEN/CRISPR genome editing tools, systems biology analysis and cellular/molecular biology techniques to study cancer pathogenesis. Also provided is a training for independent thinking on designing experiments for tackling fundamental biomedical questions.