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The Tan lab focuses on drugging cell fate, where advanced chemical biology methods are developed and applied to identify natural product and synthetic chemical probes targeting a class of oncogenes called lineage transcription factors. The malfunctioning of these lineage factors pushes normal cells toward a cancer cell fate. Understanding the underlying disease mechanisms of these factors is crucial for downstream cancer therapeutic development.


The lab aims to (1) characterize the underlying mechanisms by which lineage transcription factors promote a tumorigenic cell fate by generating and studying engineered cell line and patient-derived xenograft models, and (2) modulate lineage factor-induced tumorigenic cell fate with chemical inhibitors identified through the development and application of high-throughput screening platforms.



Cell Line Model Development

Endogenous lineage TF-expressing cell line modes as well as cell lines engineered to express mutated forms of TFs are established to study the molecular mechanisms by which lineage transcription factors promote tumorigenesis.

In Vivo Patient Derived Model Development

Patient-derived xenograft models are established from cancer patient tumor biopsies to assess lineage transcription factor tumorigenicity and mechanisms in a clinically relevant fashion.

High-Throughput Chemical Screening Platform Development

Cell-based and biochemical screening methodologies are developed and employed to identify novel lineage TF-targeting compounds for potential translation into clinical use.

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