Cell Identity and Signaling

Cell Identity and Signaling

Cancer cells suffer an identity crisis in that their biology has diverged so significantly from normal that they no longer function to serve the organism of which they are a part and instead become self-promoting in terms of their own growth and survival.   Investigators in the Cell Identity and Signaling Program (CIS) are committed to understanding and correcting this identity crisis by studying the key molecules and processes that distinguish a cancer cell from a normal cell.  Using their expertise in biochemistry, genetics, molecular biology and developmental biology, program members are engaged in discovery efforts targeting three critical areas of basic cancer research:

Signaling and Cellular Growth Control  -  To define how cells of different types respond to extracellular signals and convert those signals into intracellular messages that impact their ability to make growth and differentiation decisions. 

Regulation of Gene Expression  -  To investigate how cells control growth and differentiation decisions at the level of gene expression by regulating the activities of gene-specific transcription factors and by employing genome-wide, epigenetic mechanisms  to remodel genes and cellular identity.

Animal Models of Development - To examine cellular function in the context of tissues, organs, or a whole organism and determine how establishment of cell identity is influenced by the environment.
The majority of CIS Program members utilize mammalian model systems (including genetically engineered mice) for their work, making their observations readily applicable to the human cancer problem.  However, the program does include investigators that use genetic approaches in yeast, worms, flies, fish and even plants to make rapid progress in identifying molecular interactions and characterizing the importance of these interactions to the basic growth behavior of cells.  The breadth of research and the variety of model systems represented by the CIS Program provide the Purdue University Center for Cancer Research with unrivaled opportunities to develop new, molecule-targeted approaches for treating and/or managing cancer.

Program Members:

R. Claudio Aguilar, Biological Sciences
Ourania M. Andrisani, Basic Medical Sciences
Scott D. Briggs, Program Leader, Biochemistry
Alice (Chun-Ju) Chang, Basic Medical Sciences
Henry Chang, Biological Sciences
Qing Deng, Biological Sciences
Donna M. Fekete, Biological Sciences
James C. Fleet, Nutrition Science
Robert L. Geahlen, Medicinal Chemistry & Molecular Pharmacology
Stanton B. Gelvin, Biological Sciences
Humaira Gowher, Biochemistry
Marietta L. Harrison, Medicinal Chemistry & Molecular Pharmacology
Chang-Deng Hu, Co-Leader, Medicinal Chemistry & Molecular Pharmacology
Andrea Kasinski, Biological Sciences
Chang H. Kim, Comparative Pathobiology
Ann L. Kirchmaier, Biochemistry
Stephen F. Konieczny, Biological Sciences
Shihuan Kuang,  Animal Sciences
Sophie A. Lelièvre, Basic Medical Sciences
Wanqing Liu, Medicinal Chemistry & Molecular Pharmacology
Xiaoqi Liu, Biochemistry
Susan Mendrysa, Basic Medical Sciences
Joseph Ogas, Biochemistry
Timothy L. Ratliff, Comparative Pathobiology
Barbara Stefanska, Nutrition Science
Elizabeth J. Taparowsky, Biological Sciences
Dorothy Teegarden, Nutrition Science
Elizabeth J. Tran, Biochemistry
Vikki Weake, Biochemistry
Michael Wendt, Medicinal Chemistry & Molecular Pharmacology
Jer-Yen Yang, Basic Medical Sciences
GuangJun Zhang, Comparative Pathobiology

Click here to view our entire membership list.