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Cell Dynamics Laboratory

The overarching goal of our research program is to understand the cellular mechanisms of tissue regeneration and cancer by using genetically engineered mice and organoids with a specific interest in WNT signaling. 

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Mucinous colorectal cancer

Mucinous colorectal cancer is highly metastatic and therapy-resistant. Nonetheless, biology of mucinous colorectal cancer remains to be addressed. We study mechanism of mucinous cancer development.


Image (left): mucinous colorectal cancer developed from our genetically engineered mouse models (by Yuanjian Huang). 


Tissue regeneration

Fine control of cell dynamics orchestrates tissue homeostasis and regeneration. Using organoids and animal models, we study how cell plasticity contributes to tissue regeneration.

Image: Single-cell RNA-sequencing-based cell lineage trajectory analysis of regenerating lung tissues (by Bongjun Kim)

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Cell Plasticity in cancer

Tumor cell plasticity plays a crucial role in therapy resistance, relapse, and metastasis of cancer. We study mechanism of cell plasticity and apply such knowledge to cancer patients to predict better treatment options and outcomes. 

Image: Dynamo (artificial intelligence)-based inference of cell lineage trajectory analyses showing the impact of gene knock-out (KO) on cell plasticity (by Shengzhe Zhang)


Esophageal squamous cell cancer 

Esophageal squamous cell cancer is detected at a later stage, limiting treatment options. Using genetically engineered esophageal organoids and single-cell transcriptomics of patient samples, we classify patients into specific treatment responders vs. non-responders.

Image: Single-cell RNA-seq-based analysis of 69 ESCC patient samples and genetically engineered esophageal organoids; integration (right) and unsupervised stratification of patients (left) (by Kyung-Pil Ko)

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Organoids for modeling diseases

3D cultured organoids mimic pathophysiology of human diseases. We genetically manipulate organoids to model human diseases and dissect mechanisms of disease development.

Image: Genetically engineered gastric oragnoids (by Gengyi Zou)

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