Positions

Assistant Professor
Molecular and Human Genetics
Baylor College of Medicine (BCM)
Houston, TX, US
Member
Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center (BCM)
Houston, TX, United States
Member
Texas Medical Center (TMC)
Digestive Disease Center (DDC)
Houston, TX
Member
The Alkek Center for Metagenomics and Microbiome Research (BCM)
Houston, TX

Education

Postdoctoral Fellowship at Weill Cornell Medicine
PhD from Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine
MS from Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST)
BA from Sogang University

Professional Interests

  • Understanding the role of dietary factors in colorectal cancer pathogenesis (Key words: Cancer Metabolism, Microbiome, Genetic mutations, Mouse models, Organoids)

Professional Statement

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in developed countries. Epidemiological studies strongly suggest that diet is the most important environmental factors in colorectal cancer development. Indeed, diet is known to affect many important aspects of cancer development by influencing epigenetics, metabolism, immune systems and gut microbiota and others. As such, if we can identify and understand the mechanisms by which dietary factors can prevent or facilitate cancer development, we will be able to control cancer initiation, progression and metastasis more effectively. Unfortunatley, the field connecting diet to cancer has been difficult to study experimentally in human. One of the challenges is that it is very hard to control or restrict one’s diet or life style, which can confound the dietary factors in question. Furthermore, it is difficult to dissect the molecular mechanisms of complex relationship between diet and pathogenesis of colorectal cancer in human subjects.

The goal of our laboratory is to identify dietary factors that can affect tumorigenesis and understand the molecular basis for the relationship between diet and colorectal cancer using preclinical model systems. Toward this end, we will use genetically engineered mouse models (GEMM), ex-vivo 3D organoid co-culture systems, and patient or mouse-derived organoid transplantation models. Furthermore, we have the integrative and systematic ‘-omics’ approaches using state-of-the-art techniques such as metabolomics and next-generation sequencing. Ultimately, we seek to develop and discover novel strategies to prevent and treat colorectal cancer and other types of cancer by understanding the role of diet in cancer, which we believe can have a positive impact on society directly and immediately.

Selected Publications

Funding

CPRIT Scholar
Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT)
Career Transition Award (K22)
NCI