Dr. Zhao's laboratory is interested in how cancer stem cells are formed and regulated during tumor formation and metastasis. These studies may lead to cancer stem cell targeted therapies for cancer metastasis. The Zhao laboratory has discovered a signaling transcription factor of Kruppel-like factor family proteins that is highly over-expressed in several types of human cancers and plays a critical role in cell cycle progression, oncogenic transformation, epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) - a cellular event associated with both stem cell induction and cancer metastasis. Molecular mechanisms responsible for the signal transduction regulated cancer stem cell formation and metastasis will be the future study focus in the Zhao laboratory.
Wang X, Zheng M, Liu G, Xia W, McKeown-Longo PJ, Hung MC, Zhao J. Kroppel-like factor 8 induces epithelial to mesenchymal transition and epithelial cell invasion. Cancer Res. 2007 Aug 1;67(15):7184-93.
Wang X, Zhao J. KLF8 transcription factor participates in oncogenic transformation. Oncogene. 2007 Jan 18;26(3):456-61.
Zhao J, Bian ZC, Yee K, Chen BP, Chien S, Guan JL. Identification of transcription factor KLF8 as a downstream target of focal adhesion kinase in its regulation of cyclin D1 and cell cycle progression. Mol Cell. 2003 Jun;11(6):1503-15.