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We are an interdisciplinary research group that applies the concept of controlling proximity between molecules to regulate their interactions and downstream biological effects. Our approaches integrate synthetic chemistry, genetics, and engineering to develop novel strategies and tools to facilitate the research in non-coding RNAs, epigenetics and cancer immunotherapies. The current focuses in the lab include:

New strategies for regulating microRNAs. MicroRNAs are non-docing RNAs play critical regulatory roles in biological processes. Their dysregulation has been linked to various human diseases. We are developing several novel bi-functional strategies to create new molecules that regulate microRNAs in cells. These tools will be used to investigate the non-conanical functions of microRNAs and the differential roles of microRNAs within the same family. We are also developing novel oncomiR inhibitors for cancer treatment. These strategies will be applied to design new regulators for other RNA species including long non-coding RNAs.

New strategies for reprogramming mammalian cells. The unltimate goal is to create tailored mammalian cells for therapeutic applications. We are developing novel chemistry-integrated mammalian synthetic biology strategies to generate engineered mammalian cells that can respond to user-chosen cellular signals with pre-defined biological or therapeutic outputs. We are using this new platform to create the next generation reprogrammed immune cells against solid tumors and to remodel epigenome for interrogating epigenetic regulatory networks in controlling gene activity in cells.