Justine Yu

Molecular Medicine

Area of Doctoral Study: Molecular Medicine
Undergraduate Institute: Temple University

Research Advisor: Dr. Quin Zhou

Description of Research

I study how long non-coding RNAs contribute to non-small cell lung cancer tumorigenesis and progression. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related mortality due to its high incidence, metastatic recurrence, and late stage of disease presentation. Therefore, there is an urgent need to elucidate the mechanisms involved in NSCLC tumorigenesis to define new therapeutic strategies to improve patient outcomes. Differentiation Antagonizing Non-Coding RNA (DANCR) is a long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) that has been shown to regulate cancer cell stemness, and promote the invasive properties of cancer cells. Additionally, Wnt signaling has been shown to promote cancer cell proliferation, stemness, and invasion. Therefore, my studies investigate the hypothesis that overexpression of DANCR promotes NSCLC tumorigenesis through induction of Wnt/β-catenin signaling. Successful completion of my studies will identify novel mechanistic insights into non-small cell lung cancer tumorigenesis and progression and provide exciting new functional targets for the development of molecularly targeted therapeutics for NSCLC treatment.