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Model organisms have been used to study in vivo functions of genes that are involved in many human diseases. In particular, the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, is used to study oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes that are altered in human cancer. RB was the first identified tumor suppressor protein that plays an important function during G1 to S phase transition of the cell cycle. It is believed that the function of RB has to be compromised in most, if not all, cancers to promote uncontrolled cellular proliferation. The major goal of my research is to identify factors can specifically influence the proliferation and survival of RB-deficient cells using Drosophila as a model system. Because RB is functionally inactivated in most cancers, these factors can potentially teach us what makes RB-deficient cancer cells different from wild-type cells and how to specifically target them for therapy.
Research Opportunities - TBA