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Bo-Kuan Wu joined the Department of Genetics as a new assistant professor this summer. He received his Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of Iowa. Under the guidance of Dr. Charles Brenner, he investigated the roles of DNA methyltransferase 1 (DNMT1) and ten-eleven translocation 1 (TET1) in regulating DNA methylation for cancer formation.wu.jpg

He identified the functional roles of the replication foci targeting sequence (RFTS) domain of DNMT1 in the maintenance of a non-transformed epigenome. He also discovered that oncogenic KRAS promotes transformation by inhibiting TET1 expression through the ERK pathway. Persistent TET1 suppression by KRAS is required to maintain the promoter hypermethylation of TSGs and the malignancy.

With a passion for understating the molecular mechanism of epigenetic abnormality associated with diseases and its translational application, Bo-Kuan joined Dr. Duojia Pan’s laboratory as a postdoctoral researcher to investigate how epigenetic changes may regulate the Hippo-YAP signaling pathway. There, he identified TET1 as a direct YAP target and critical mediator of the YAP-induced oncogenic transcriptional program. TET1-mediated DNA hypomethylation controls YAP-induced liver enlargement and the development of cancers. These findings reveal the potential for an alternative epigenetic strategy for targeting the Hippo-YAP signaling pathway mediated cancers or diseases.

Joining the Department of Genetics at UAB, Bo-Kuan is excited to continue researching how transcription factors and cofactors coordinate to regulate the Hippo-YAP signaling pathways, particularly in organ size control and tumorigenesis. His lab will use multiple omics strategies and mouse genetics to explore cellular and genomic complexity. He aims to focus on transcriptional regulations to uncover novel therapies and is looking forward to establishing active collaborations at UAB.