The TGFβ focus group brings together a group of basic scientists and physician-scientists with a common interest in exploring the basic biology and biochemistry of TGFβ signaling, and a shared goal to define the complex roles of this pathway in disease pathogenesis and carcinogenesis. During the earliest stages of carcinogenesis TGFβ principally functions as a tumor suppressor. However, during the later stages of malignant progression biologically active TGFβ, often produced by cancer cells, can aid tumor growth and metastasis through the ability to suppress immune cells, enhance angiogenesis, promote matrix production and induce cancer cell migration. By this time, most tumors have become refractory to the growth inhibitory effects of the cytokine, often through mechanisms involving the downregulation of expression of TGFβ receptors at the cell surface.
Principal investigators have expertise in the areas of cancer biology, immunology, tissue repair and regeneration, hematopoiesis and development. Together they are establishing interdisciplinary collaborative efforts along distinct lines of investigation including the following areas: 1) the pathogenesis of colon cancer; 2) inflammation and cancer; 3) microenvironment in cancer 4) cell migration, cancer cell invasion and metastasis; 5) TGFβ signaling and mechanisms of gene regulation, particularly crosstalk with other signaling networks; 6) characterization and development of novel small molecules that target intermediates in TGFβ signaling.
Ge Jin, PhD
Assistant Professor, Biological Sciences