March 2014 Research Spotlight: Zhi-Xiang Xu

picture-1Dr. Xu is currently an Assistant Professor in the UAB Division of Hematology/Oncology, and a Scientist at the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center. He received his BS degree and PhD degree from Soochow University, China. He completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Department of Molecular Pathology at the University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center, and as Assistant Professor at MD Anderson Cancer Center before joining the UAB Division of Hematology/Oncology in 2009.
Dr. Xu's research focuses on identification of molecular mechanisms underlying tumor suppressor function and to develop pharmacological agents that can modulate or mimic tumor suppressors for cancer prevention and treatment.
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Specifically, his lab currently has three research directions:

(1)      Tumor suppressor and genomic stability: (A) To investigate mechanisms of how tumor suppressors, such as LKB1 (also known as serine/threonine kinase 11, STK11), PML, and p53, regulate genomic stability; (B) To determine LKB1-related protein signatures and signaling networks under stressed conditions and identify novel LKB1-interacting proteins; (C) To define LKB1 expression (mutation) in tumors and its relationship to patient outcomes and therapeutic response.
(2)      Cell death: Autophagy and Necrosis: (A) To determine the role of autophagy in LKB1-mediated genomic stabilization; (B) To screen and characterize genes that regulate autophagy and necrosis in mammalian cells; (C) To determine the role of autophagy and necrosis in tumorigenesis and targeted therapy.
(3)      Molecular therapeutics: To develop pharmacologic agents targeting the LKB1-AMPK-mTOR pathway for cancer prevention and treatment.