Active areas of investigation in my laboratory are focused on uncovering molecular mechanisms of inflammation and their link to cancer. Specifically, we are studying the role of the transcription factor STAT2 in bacterial-induced inflammation and colorectal cancer. STAT2 is a ubiquitous protein that plays a pivotal role in the signal transduction pathway initiated by type I and type III interferons, a family of cytokines shown to exert antitumor and antiviral activity and protect the intestinal tract. Work from my lab has collected evidence to support STAT2 as a critical component in mediating the antitumor and apoptotic actions of type I IFN. However, our recent studies have revealed that STAT2 displays pro-inflammatory and tumor promoting activity in animal models of colorectal cancer thus indicating that it plays a dual role in cancer by an unknown mechanism. Understanding at the molecular level what drives STAT2 to deliver a tumor promoting signal as opposed to an antitumor trigger will have clinical implications.
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