Investigation of human glioma genetics by neural differentiation
Malignant glioma is the most common type of brain tumor and is currently incurable. The human cancer genome is characterized by an exuberant level of genetic alterations, of which only a portion serves as a driving force for tumor development. With a team of collaborators, we conducted in-depth analysis of the glioma cancer genome, which led to the identification of novel glioma tumor suppressors and oncogenes including MIG-6, PLAGL2, QK1, among others. We contributed to these studies by defining neural progenitors developmentally arrested at specific lineage commitment stages and impaired terminal differentiation upon aberrant expression of these key genes. This body of work shed light on how these genomic alterations function in the context of gliomas. We continue to employ the strategy of neural stem cell-based modeling of human glioma genetics by investigating aberrant neural differentiation. Part of this work was supported by Sydney Kimmel Foundation, Feldstein Medical Foundation, and Irma T. Hirschl Award.