- Name: Jixin Dong, Ph.D.
- Title: Associate professor, Eppley Institute for Research in Cancer and Allied Diseases
- Joined UNMC: November 2008
- Hometown: Tongxiang, Zhejiang, China
The Distinguished Scientist Award
The Distinguished Scientist Award -- which is sponsored by the chancellor -- recognizes researchers who have been among the most productive scientists at UNMC during the past five years.
Hippo-YAP in cancer
The goal of my research is:
My laboratory is interested in the Hippo-YAP signaling pathway in cancer development and progression. One of the major areas of our research is to understand the underlying molecular mechanisms through which Hippo/YAP exerts its tumor suppressive/oncogenic function. We found that Hippo-YAP signaling is regulated during cell cycle progression and plays an important role in mitosis and cytokinesis.
Another major direction is to validate YAP as a therapeutic target in prostate and pancreatic cancer. Activation of YAP is known to promote cell growth and prevent cell death. Our initial studies demonstrated that YAP plays an important role in castration-resistant prostate cancer and in the metastasis of pancreatic cancer, which are major clinical challenges. Therefore, inhibiting YAP (e.g. by small molecules) is a potential novel therapeutic strategy, and is expected to benefit cancer patients with advanced disease.
My research will make a difference because: Many of the Hippo-YAP signaling members are tumor suppressors or oncoproteins. The Hippo-YAP pathway has a great potential for cancer therapeutics.
The best advice I've ever been given is:
"Do something new," from my postdoc mentor.
Three things you may not know about me are:
- I was working on Vitis (grape), Oryza (rice), Arabidopsis thaliana (a small flowering plant), and Drosophila (the fruit fly). I am currently researching Hippo (pathway) in Mus musculus (mouse) and Homo sapiens (human).
- My dream (before college) was to be a pilot.
- In addition to addressing students' scientific questions, I also address "What's for dinner?" for my family.
Congratulations! I'm sure whats for dinner Feb 13 will be wonderful, as you've served Eppley well. A shout out to your team as well, for their research volunteerism speaks loudly of your fine mentorship.