In the Keane Lai Lab, we study:

  1. The role of the obscure gene midnolin in the liver. Although midnolin has been studied for over 20 years, its biological roles remain largely unknown. We are the first to demonstrate the functional significance of midnolin in liver cancer: Midnolin expression correlates with poor prognosis in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients, and suppression of midnolin severely inhibits tumorigenicity of HCC cells in vitro and in an immune-competent orthotopic mouse model. (Kweon et al. Cancers 14(6):1421, 2022.)

  1. The role of Wnt/β-catenin signaling in the liver and pancreas. We are the first to demonstrate that small molecule specific Wnt/CBP/β-catenin antagonist ICG-001 suppresses activation of pancreatic stellate cells (PSCs) as evidenced by their decreased proliferation, down-regulation of activation markers, up-regulation of quiescence marker, and reduced migration of PSCs, as well as by reduced PSC-induced migration of pancreatic cancer cells. (Che et al. Cancers 12(6):1476, 2020.)