Kai Tan Laboratory
Led by Kai Tan, PhD, researchers in the Tan Laboratory are using systems biology approaches to identify and characterize gene pathways underpinning tumorigenesis and normal development. The ultimate goal of the research in this laboratory is to use information from patient-specific, integrated gene networks to improve the diagnosis and treatment of cancer patients.
Ongoing research in the Tan Laboratory is focused on network modeling for tumorigenesis and discovery of new therapies. Results from these studies show that tumorigenesis and therapeutic responses involve dynamic changes in the molecular network of cancer cells. Using network-rewiring events can improve the accuracy of disease prognosis and offer new insights into gene pathways underlying disease progression. Additional studies are underway to comprehensively identify network-rewiring events in a range of pediatric tumors and use such information to improve prognosis and identify novel therapies.
Whole-genome sequencing has revealed a large number of DNA sequence mutations that are located in noncoding regions of the human genome. Researchers in the Tan Laboratory are developing a general computational framework for identifying noncoding genetic mutations that confer cancer risk. Understanding these mutations might unravel novel mechanisms underlying tumorigenesis and provide new tumor-specific targets.
Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) are routinely used in the treatment of hematopoietic malignancies. However their use in the clinic is limited by donor availability. Members of the Tan laboratory are combining genomic and computational approaches to better understand the gene regulatory circuitry underlying HSC development. Ultimately, this may lead to novel protocols for generating HSCs using a patient’s own cells.