Positions

Associate Professor
Pediatrics-Nutrition
Baylor College of Medicine
Houston, TX, US

Education

Advanced Training from M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
Advanced Training from Johns Hopkins Hospital
Ph.D. from Shanghai Second Medical College
MD from Zhenjiang Medical School

Professional Interests

  • Epigenetics, Development and Human Disease

Professional Statement

My research is focused on understanding the developmental origins of cancer from an epigenetic perspective. The developmental origins paradigm has been investigated intensively with regards to cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity. This area of research, however, has been much less emphasized in cancer, despite the fact that early environmental influences on epigenetics is now viewed as one of the mechanisms most likely to underlie the developmental origins of chronic disease, and cancer is the chronic disease in which epigenetic dysregulation is most clearly implicated. Although the importance of DNA methylation in cancer is widely accepted, important outstanding questions remain: How is genome-wide DNA methylation established and maintained during various developmental stages? How are developmental epigenetic mechanisms of gene regulation influenced by “nutritional programming”? How do epigenetic aberrations induced by environmental exposures lead to carcinogenesis?

To understand fundamental mechanisms regulating DNA methylation during development, our research team has been using stem cells and/or mice as model systems. We have established genome-wide methods for DNA methylation analysis using ‘next generation’ sequencing technology. We have recently developed and validated an ‘epigenetic engineering’ approach for targeted DNA methylation in mice. This research will provide novel insights into the fundamental processes of development and how these processes are influenced by diet, nutrition and other factors.

Selected Publications