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In multicellular organisms, each cell is programmed to respond to a number of extracellular signals, such as hormones, cytokines, and growth factors. In most cases, these signals are transmitted from “outside” to “inside” of the cell via their specific cell-surface receptors to regulate cell behavior and function. The important cell processes such as cell proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis (programmed cell death), are profoundly regulated by cell signaling. Dysfunction of cell signaling has been associated with the origin and development of many diseases such as diabetes and cancer. Thus, to gain insights into cell signaling is fundamental to the in-depth understanding of the nature of diseases. This research may eventually lead to the discovery of non-invasive biomarkers for early detection and development of novel, effective therapeutic interventions.
Despite extensive studies in the past, the cell signaling pathways, in particular, their crosstalk that integrates and diversifies signaling are still poorly understood. The research goal of our laboratory is to clarify the molecular foundations for cell signaling in regulating cell behavior and function. We are particularly interested in signaling crosstalk mediated by epidermal growth factor (EGF), insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) and cell adhesion molecules, and the effects of such crosstalk on cell adhesion, migration, differentiation, growth and survival. Our research may have important implications in endocrine-related diseases including gynecologic cancer, endometriosis and diabetes.
The PI has recently received several awards from Science Foundation Arizona (SFAz), American Heart Association (AHA), Arizona Biomedical Research Commission (ABRC), and other national and international research funding agencies. The PI had the following major accomplishments in the field of cell signaling research in the past.
Yao (Joyce) Huang, PhD
Assistant Staff Scientist
Director, Laboratory of Signal Transduction
Division of Obstetrics and Gynecology
St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center
Phoenix, Arizona, USA