Our lab has major research interests in vascular biology, metabolism and tumor microenvironment. We currently focus on the elucidation of molecular mechanisms underlying vascular diseases and tumor angiogenesis using a combination of molecular, cellular, genomic and mouse genetic (conditional knockout, transgenic and mutant knock-in) approaches for the studies and translational research.
A brief overview of projects in the lab is as follows:
i. Angiogenesis in diseases.
Angiogenesis is the growth and proliferation of blood vessels from an existing vascular structure indispensable for multiple diseases, including peripheral artery disease and tumor growth. We demonstrated that TFEB significantly improves blood flow recovery after ischemic vascular injury in animal models. Our ongoing studies aim to uncover the role and mechanisms of TFEB in tumor angiogenesis and tumor biology. Multiple signaling pathways have been identified to regulate either TFEB expression or nuclear translocation. The drugs and chemical compounds targeting TFEB are pursued with translational feasibility to treat angiogenesis-dependent diseases.
ii. Transcriptional regulation and vascular diseases.
Our lab has successfully carried out several promising projects that aim at illuminating the role of TFEB in vascular diseases. As a transcription factor, TFEB potently regulates vascular endothelial cell and vascular smooth muscle cell biology, constituting a potential molecular target for the treatment of vascular diseases, including abdominal aortic aneurysm and atherosclerosis. We have established powerful platforms for studying vascular function and molecular mechanisms.
iii. Discovery of the molecular and genetic basis for metabolic disorders and cardiovascular diseases.
We aim to understand the biological function of novel candidate genes identified from human populations to uncover new therapeutic targets for human diseases. The studies of novel promising genes associated with vascular diseases are ongoing in our lab.