childhood cancer, leukemia, cancer predisposition, cancer immunology
The goal of the Porter lab is to develop novel therapeutic strategies for leukemia through better understanding of molecular mechanisms of leukemogenesis and treatment resistance. We employ a wide variety of techniques, in vitro and in vivo, for discovery and validation of molecular vulnerabilities in cancer cells. For example, using a genome-scale shRNA screen, we identified WEE1 as a chemosensitizing target in AML cells. Subsequent studies funded by the NCI have validated this finding and supported the development of a clinical trial testing a WEE1 inhibitor in children with relapsed/refractory AML. More recently, we have discovered a novel function for the transcription factor ETV6 in regulating normal B cell development, and will test whether and how Etv6 mutation promotes leukemogenesis using a new mouse model with a point mutation in Etv6. A third project in the lab is directed at understanding mechanisms of immune evasion during leukemogenesis.
The Xu laboratory is focusing on human cardiomyocytes derived from pluripotent stem cells, which hold promise for cardiac cell therapy, disease modeling, drug discovery, and the study of developmental biology. The laboratory is also collaborating with investigators in Georgia Tech, Emory University, and Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, exploring the application of nanotechnology and tissue engineering in stem cell research.
Molecular physiology of ion channels and receptors, with emphasis on epithelial chloride channels. Our specific focus is the pathophysiology of Cystic Fibrosis, including the structure/function of CFTR and its many roles in the airway.