I obtained my Ph.D. in Oncological Sciences from University of Utah (Supervisor, Dr. Bradley Cairns, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Huntsman Cancer Institute). My PhD thesis work resulted in several key discoveries on the fundamental mechanisms of chromatin regulation of gene expression during development. I identified and functionally characterized the Yaf9 component of the SWR1 and NuA4 complexes which are essential for proper regulation of gene expression (Mol. Cell. Biol. (2004) 24, 9424-9436). I also investigated the genome-wide dynamics of Htz1, a histone H2A variant and delineated the molecular mechanism by which Htz1 poises repressed/basal promoters for activation through histone loss (Cell (2005) 123, 219-231). Furthermore, I initiated and helped to develop multiple projects in which we studied how distinctive chromatin in sperm packages genes for embryo development in both human and zebrafish model systems (Nature (2009) 460(7254), 473-8; Genome Res. (2011) 21(4), 578-89). These research experiences endowed me with expertise in genomics/epigenomics and transcriptional regulation.
During my postdoctoral fellowship (Supervisor, Dr. Elaine Fuchs, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Rockefeller University), I extended my research experience into the mammalian cell biology and developmental biology. My work resulted in the discovery that the Hippo signaling pathway is required for balancing growth and differentiation during epidermal development, and its aberrant regulation result in various types of skin cancers (Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010. 108, 2270-5).
I further extended my training into cancer biology and translational study field. After joining Dr. Lyden’s laboratory, my research has focused on the function of tumor-derived exosomes in tumorigenesis and metastasis and investigation of the translational potential of exosome-based research in clinical setting. Part of my work was recently published in Cell Research (2014, 24:766-9), which demonstrates the translational potential of exosomal DNA secreted by tumor cells. I also contributed to the work which demonstrated that MIF-expressing pancreatic cancer-derived exosomes induce Kupffer cell-mediated pre-metastatic niche formation in the liver (Nat. Cell. Biol., 2015, 17(6):816-26) and the work in which we determined the role of tumour exosome integrins in determination of tumor metastatic organotropism (Hoshino et al, Nature, 2015, 527(7578):329-335). Furthermore, I served as first author and co-first authors on two recent review articles on tumor-derived exosomes and premetastatic niche in metastasis, respectively (Emerging Concepts of Tumor Exosome-Mediated Cell-Cell Communication Chapter series. Springer Biomedicine New York. 2012, Chapter 9, 181-202; Nat. Rev. Cancer 2016, in press)
Currently, my research focuses on developing novel technologies for the analysis of various types of tumor-derived extracellular nanovesicles, identification of extracellular nanovesicle-based biomarkers for early detection of cancers and monitoring patient response to treatment, engineering exosome-based nanoparticles for organotropic drug delivery, and understanding the mechanisms underlying the biogenesis and functions of tumor-derived exosomes and other types of extracellular nanovesicles during tumor progression and metastasis.