Dr. Ansu Perekatt
Ph.D. Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, University of Illinois, Chicago
Majority of the Cancers arise in organs with self-renewing epithelial tissues such as the intestine. The intestinal epithelium consists of dividing cells and differentiated cells that have stopped cell division. All the cell types in the intestinal epithelium arise from stem cells that are maintained throughout the life span. Stem cells are also thought to be the origin of cancers. While the differentiated cells do not divide, certain mutations can afford them the plasticity to change into stem cells with the potential to initiate cancer.
The overarching goal of my research is to understand the molecular changes that confer this plasticity in the differentiated cells - using a combination of molecular biology techniques, in vivo gene knockout mouse models and ex vivo organoid cultures. Cancers often relapse over time after cancer therapy. It is plausible that cancer relapse occurs when cells that survive therapy acquire the plasticity to adapt. Understanding the mechanism of plasticity is thus critical for devising targeted therapies against cancer relapse.
Gallow Award for Outstanding Cancer Research -2018, 2016 & 2014
K22 Career Transition Award from NCI/NIH:$486,000
(September 2018 to Spetember 2021)
- Perekatt AO, Shah PP, Cheung S, Jariwala N, Wu A, Gandhi V, Kumar N, Feng Q, Patel N, Chen L, Joshi S, Zhou A, Taketo MM, Xing J, White E, Gao N, Gatza ML, Verzi MP. "Concomitant loss of Smad4 and activation of WNT signaling triggers enterocyte de-differentiation and adenoma formation", Cancer Research 2018 Sep 1;78(17):4878-4890. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-18-0043. Epub 2018 Jul 9.
- Perekatt AO, Valdez MJ, Davila M, Hoffman A, Bonder EM, Gao N, Verzi MP.. "YY1 is indispensable for Lgr5+ intestinal stem cell renewal.", Proceeding of National Academy of Sciences U S A. 2014 May 27;111(21):7695-700. 2014 May 12.