Chromatin Structure and Epigenetic Modulation

The Cancer Epigenetics Lab and Functional Genomics Lab studies chromatin structure, epigenetic modulation and prostate cancer progression.

Dr. Huang's research team is interested in understanding how the potent functions of the Polycomb group protein EZH2 are regulated under physiological conditions. Additionally, the lab studies how deregulation of EZH2 in pathological scenarios promotes prostate cancer growth, migration, and metastasis and expansion of prostate cancer stem cell populations.

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 or invasion, thereby implying a role of EZH2 in cancer progression.

Findings from Dr. Huang's research on chromatin structure and epigenetic modulation could lead to the identification of new biomarkers for prostate cancer diagnosis and prognosis and new molecules for targeted therapy of prostate cancer.

The lab's research on chromatic structure and epigenetic modulation is supported by an Idea Development Award from the Department of Defense.