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Drosophila sensory neurons tile the larval body wall, Dr. Chun Han


555 Mission Bay Blvd South, 452H, Box 3122

David Raleigh

Developmental biology, lipid signaling and brain tumors

We are interested in understanding how developmental signaling pathway drive the growth of brain tumors. My lab helped reveal how oncogenic Hedgehog signaling induces medulloblastoma, the most common pediatric brain cancer, and how forkhead box transcription factors control meningioma, the most common brain tumor in adults. Using evolutionary biology, biochemistry, mouse genetics and lipidomic mass spectrometry, we discovered a family of oxysterol lipids that drive both developmental and oncogenic hedgehog signaling. Our research has also made use of human patient samples, multiplatform next generation sequencing, machine learning, radiologic and radiomic analyses to identify FOXM1 as a master transcription factor for aggressive meningioma growth. Ongoing projects aim to (1) further characterize the role of lipids as signaling molecules in development and disease, (2) understand intra-brain tumor evolution and molecular heterogeneity, (3) determine how development Hedgehog signaling becomes oncogenic, and (4) translate these discoveries into early-phase clinical trials for cancer patients.