Jian Yu PhD

University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Hillman Cancer Center Research Pavilion Associate Professor, Department of Pathology

Research Focus: Oncogenesis

Cancer Type: Lung Cancer

Award: Young Investigator

2004-2007 Research Grant:

Lung cancer remains one of the greatest public health threats, despite advancement in the understanding of molecular genetics. We have been accumulating preliminary data and developing reagents for this project for the past two years, and we are encouraged by the early results of using PUMA, a protein, as a novel target to selectively encourage apoptosis, cell death, in lung cancer cells. With this funding, we will be able to expand the research into animal model trials, and it is our hope that these efforts will allow us to examine the feasibility of moving PUMA gene therapy towards clinical trials.

Current Research:

Dr. Yu’s research has continued to focus primarily on the PUMA protein and its role in cancer cell death. Her research has found that PUMA actually sensitizes lung cancer cells to chemotherapeutic agents and irradiation, induces rapid apoptosis in colon cancer cells, and is involved in apoptosis in cancer cells of the head and neck. Dr. Yu’s research with PUMA definitely shows a huge potential for it and its role in treating various types of cancer. Future research aims to use her work with PUMA to develop and improve apoptosis-targeted drug development for cancer treatment. Aside from her work with PUMA, Dr. Yu and her lab are researching other cell death mechanisms within cancer cells as well as the use of intestinal stem cells to aid with injury and the development of cancer.

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