Rochester, Minnesota




Haojie Huang, Ph.D., conducts research in gene transcription on-and-off, as it constitutes a critical mechanism in the regulation of biological processes.

Abnormal gene transcription often leads to human diseases, such as cancer. His research team is primarily interested in regulation and function of biologically important transcription regulatory molecules, including transcription factors (AR and FOXO1), transcription co-regulators (CBP and p300) and histone/chromatin modifiers (EZH2).

Dr. Huang's research focuses on regulation of protein functions by mechanisms such as phosphorylation, acetylation, ubiquitination and protein-protein interaction and their role in initiation and progression of cancer, especially prostate cancer.

Many advanced techniques routinely utilized in the laboratory include:

  • Gene knockout
  • Tumor imaging in live animals
  • Lentivirus-mediated gene silencing
  • Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP)
  • ChIP-on-chip
  • ChIP-Seq
  • RNA immunoprecipitation (RIP)-Seq
  • Microarray-based gene profiling
  • Embryonic and cancer stem cell culture and manipulation

Research directions

  • PTEN/FOXO1 tumor suppressors and prostate cancer survival and metastasis.

    PTEN is one of the most frequently mutated or deleted tumor suppressor genes in prostate cancer. Dr. Huang's team is interested in defining molecular mechanisms by which loss of PTEN leads to inhibition of the forkhead nuclear factor FOXO1, thereby promoting prostate cancer cell proliferation, survival, metastasis and resistance to cancer therapies.

  • Aberrant activation of the androgen receptor (AR) and therapy resistance in prostate cancer.

    Androgens and the AR play a pivotal role in prostate cancer development and androgen deprivation therapy is the standard treatment for metastatic prostate cancer. However, majority of prostate cancers relapse following androgen ablation. Intriguingly, the AR is still functionally active even in the presence of very low levels of androgens. Dr. Huang is interested in defining the molecular mechanism by which the AR becomes promiscuously active during androgen refractory progression of prostate cancer.

  • Transcription co-regulators in prostate tumorigenesis.

    These molecules are important for transcription factor-initiated gene transcription. Given that the function of transcription co-regulators are often dysregulated in human prostate cancers, a gene knockout approach has been taken to investigate how loss of transcription co-regulators such as CBP and p300 impacts prostate tumorigenesis and prostate cancer progression and metastasis.

  • Chromatin structure, epigenetic modulation and prostate cancer progression.

    The Polycomb group protein EZH2 primarily acts as a chromatin-modifying enzyme that catalyzes trimethylation of lysine 27 on histone H3 (H3K27me3). This histone modification promotes formation of repressive chromatin and epigenetic silencing of a large number of tumor suppressor genes that promote cell differentiation and inhibit cell proliferation and migration/invasion, thereby implying a role of EZH2 in cancer progression. Dr. Huang's team is interested in understanding how the potent functions of EZH2 is regulated under physiological conditions and how deregulation of EZH2 under pathological scenario promotes prostate cancer growth, migration, metastasis and expansion of prostate cancer stem cell population.


See my publications


Primary Appointment

  1. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Joint Appointment

  1. Urology

Academic Rank

  1. Professor of Biochemistry/Molecular Biology


  1. Senior Research Fellowship Mayo Clinic
  2. Research Fellowship Mayo Clinic
  3. Post Doctoral Researcher Institute of Genetics, Fudan University
  4. PhD Nanjing Normal University
  5. BS Nanjing Normal University

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