|Grant ID: RR180072|
Recruitment of First-Time, Tenure-Track Faculty Members
Yale University School of Medicine
August 24, 2018
Every cell in the human body has the same genomic DNA, or basic genetic program. But modifications to this program, called epigenetics, are what differentiate cells that have different functions, like brain cells and muscle cells, for example. Epigenetic changes also lie at the heart of some cancers, particularly their ability to resist cancer therapies.
Biophysicist Tao Wu, at Baylor College of Medicine, is studying how epigenetics could be exploited to treat cancer. He was recruited in 2018 from Yale Stem Cell Center, where he was an associate research scientist, with the help of a First-Time Tenure-Track Award from CPRIT. He joined the department of molecular and human genetics, and is associated with the cancer center, aging center, and the Therapeutic Innovation Center (THINC).
“I call cancer cells ‘the transformers,’” Wu says. “When you try to target or kill them, they will transform from fast-proliferating cells to become slow-proliferating, or they will become dormant, or ‘sleep,’ and just avoid the drugs you are using to try to kill them.”