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Research Projects

Defining the role of signalling pathways in Head and Neck Cancer stem cells


"Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) ranks sixth worldwide for cancer-related mortality. Research in cancer biology has led to the discovery that many cancers, including HNSCC, appear to be supported by cells that have stem cell like properties. Further, CD44+ population was identified as cancer stem cells in Head and Neck Squamous cell carcinoma. These cancer stem cells have the ability to self-renew, differentiate and develop resistance against chemotherapeutic agents preventing complete elimination of tumor. It was shown these stem cells show abnormal Wnt/B-catenin signaling. In this study, novel cancer stem cells will be isolated, characterized and the role of Wnt, PI3K-Akt and TGFB-pathways etc. will be studied in human cancer cell lines and tissues. This study will elucidate the molecular mechanism and may be beneficial to identify molecular target for cancer therapy. In the lab they are interested in developing a model system to navigate through the various steps involved in proteasomal degradation. The emphasis is on the sequence and structural requirements for initiating recognition and the rate limiting steps involved at the primary level of communication between the substrate and the proteasome. They would like to understand how this communication then translates into down stream events like unwinding of the polypeptide chain and its subsequent degrataion. We are also interested in the passive and active role played by the 19S regulatory subunits in these processes and those unrelated to degradation. "

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