The ultimate goal of our research is to help people live longer and healthier. Preventing death and repairing the aged/diseased organs are essential to achieve this goal. Cancer is the most common cause of death, and organ failure is the most common feature of aging-related diseases. Therefore, regenerative medicine and cancer precision medicine are key areas of convergence biomedical research to prolong human life in the era of 4th industrial revolution.
Our mission is to make innovative and ground-breaking, convergence stem cell and cancer research and translate our research discoveries for the improvement of health and the cure of diseases. The core values of our research group include highest level of professionalism, creativity, innovation, integrity, motivation, resilience, mutual care and team-work. With this mission and core values in mind, we study these three inter-connected and synergizing research areas of
(1) Stem cell biology & regenerative medicine,
(2) Cancer biology & precision medicine,
(3) Aging & anti-aging medicine.
Stem cells and cancers are tightly inter-related. Stem cells are oftentimes are the cell of origin for cancers. Also cancers have a subpopulation of cells, so called cancer stem cells (CSCs, a.k.a. tumor-initiating cells), which have stem cell-like characteristics and are considered the source of cancer recurrence. On the other hand, cancer is one of major aging diseases, and stem cells and stem-cell derived organs are the potential sources for anti-aging medicine. Therefore, stem cell research and cancer research are cross-connected and mutually applicable.
Our detailed research focuses include, but are not limited to,
I. Identification of tissue stem cells and their self-renewal mechanisms
– Still many tissue stem cells have not been identified. Furthermore, stem cell self-renewal and expansion are invaluable for regenerative medicine. We have extensive experience and expertise in these areas and will continue to achieve original and more significant research findings to identify and expand stem cells for regenerative medicine.
- We have for the first time identified human and mouse esophageal stem cells (Jeong et al, Gut, 2016), and we are currently trying to identify other tissue stem cells.
– The ultimate goal of stem cell biology and regenerative medicine is to generate micro-, mini-, and macro-organ to be used for organ transplantation. Although some researchers including our group succeeded in generating epithelial organoids and some of micro-organs derived from ESCs or iPSCs, the destination is still far to reach. We have built up strong experiences and expertise in epithelial stem cell biology and gear up toward organogenesis.
- As the first step toward organogenesis, we have built up our expertise in organoid culture. We have for the first time developed human and mouse esophageal organoids (Jeong et al, Gut, 2016) and other organoids (to be reported). We are also using a lot of other organoids including tracheal and lung organoids (Jeong et al, Cancer Discovery, 2017), and also tumor organoids.
- We are currently trying to develop mini-organs.
III. Development of targeted therapies for cancers
– Individualized precision medicine will ultimately refine and maximize the cancer treatment effect and minimize the side effects. We have shown that mutations in Keap1-Nrf2 anti-oxidant pathway promote the pathogenesis of lung squamous cell carcinoma by deregulating airway stem cell self-renewal. We further demonstrated that KEAP1/NRF2 mutations confer lung cancers therapeutic resistance and that genetic pre-screening of the mutation status of lung cancers could help us predict cancer recurrence (Jeong et al, Cancer Discovery, 2017). Now we aim to develop novel therapies precisely targeting KEAP1/NRF2 mutant cancers and cancers with other mutations.
IV. Targeting cancer stem cells (CSCs)
You have to remove the root if you want to get rid of weeds. Likewise, CSC theory suggests that we need to eliminate CSCs to cure cancers. CSCs are a subpopulation of cancer cells with the stem cell-like characteristics and are more resistant to chemotherapy and radiation therapy. We are particularly interested in identifying and targeting CSCs in head and neck and lung cancers.
V. Stem cell therapy in lung fibrosis
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is one of the representative aging diseases. IPF is a progressive, restrictive lung disease. In IPF, lung epithelium becomes thickened and scarred, impairing gas exchange. However, the role of lung stem cells and their niche in IPF pathogenesis has not been well understood. Thus, we aim to further elucidate the role of lung stem cells in IPF pathogenesis and treatment.
People - Current lab members
Youngtae Jeong (정영태), M.D., Ph.D.
Principal Investigator, Assistant Professor
Department of New Biology at DGIST
Education and Training
1995-2001 M.D., Seoul National University College of Medicine
2001-2002 Intern, Seoul National University Hospital
2005-2009 Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
2009-2010 Postdoc, Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research (MIT)
2010-2015 Podstoc, Stanford University Cancer Institute
2015-2018 Instructor, Stanford Univ. Department of Radiation Oncology
2018-Current, Assistant Professor, DGIST Department of New Biology
Honors and Awards (Selected)
2019 Outstanding Abstract Award, Korean Cancer Association
2016 Abstract Award, Cleveland Cancer Stem Cell Conference
2016 Travel Award, FASEB Science Research Conference
2014 ECFMG Certificate (US Medical License)
2012 Travel Award, Freston Conference
2008 Korean Honor Scholarship, Embassy of Korea, Washington D.C.
2000 Outstanding Field Research Award, LG Global Challenger Program
International Fellowships and Grants
2012-2015 California Institute for Regenerative Medicine
2012 Stanford University School of Medicine
2008-2009 American Heart Association
Current Lab Members
Soon Chul Heo (허순철), Ph.D.
Education and Training
B.A., Pukyung National University
M.S., Pusan National University
Ph.D., Pusan National University
Postdoc, Duke University
Christine Seulki Kim (김슬기), Ph.D.
Education and Training
B.A., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Postdoc, Max Planck Institute for Ageing
Jihyeon Myeong (명지현), B.A.
Education and Training
Sukjin Park (박석진)
Undergraduate Research Assistant
Education and Training
Currently under DGIST Undergraduate College
Welcome our new postdoc
Christine, a new postdoc, joined to our lab beginning in Oct, 2019. Welcome Christine, and hopefully you can survive from our lab:)
Our main author paper just came out at Clinical Cancer Research, entitled with "Role of KEAP1/NFE2L2 mutations in the chemotherapeutic response of non-small cell lung cancer patients." (PMID: 31548347)
2nd round Summer Intern of 2019
Welcome to our 2nd round summer intern student, Seoyeon Nam from Osaka University, Osaka, Japan. Have fun during your stay in our lab!
Summer Interns of 2019
Welcome to our summer intern students of Namwook Kim, Mi Jang, Sungsoo Kim, and Sukjin Park. Have fun in our lab!
Outstanding Abstract Award
We were awarded with outstanding abstract award on 6/21/2019, which was given to three researchers, from the 45th Annual Meeting of Korean Cancer Association & 5th International Cancer Conference.
FIRST GRADUATE STUDENT
Jihyeon joined as a research assistant on 6/1/2019, and he will start his Ph.D. from 9/1/2019.
We were awarded the first funding from Korean National Research Foundation!
It will begin from 6/1/2019.
Lab Homepage Opened!
Our lab homepage is opened on 1/15/2019.
FIRST INTERN STUDENT
Sukjin joined as an intern and undergraduate research assistant on 1/2/2019.
FIRST LAB MEMBER!
First lab member and first postdoc, Dr. Soon Chul Heo joined from Duke University on 11/5/2018.
Lab of Stem cell biology & Cancer precision medicine opened @ DGIST on 8/27/2018.
Jung D, Bucher F, Ryu S, Jeong J, Lee BY, Jeong Y, Kim MS, Oh YS, Baek MC, Yoon JH, Yea K. An adiponectin receptor agonist antibody stimulates glucose uptake and fatty-acid oxidation by activating AMP-activated protein kinase. Cytokine. 2019 Oct 16;126:154863. doi: 10.1016/j.cyto.2019.154863. [Epub ahead of print]
Jeong Y, Hellyer JA, Stehr H, Hoang NT, Niu X, Das M, Padda SK, Ramchandran K, Neal JW, Wakelee HA, Diehn M.Role of KEAP1/NFE2L2 mutations in the chemotherapeutic response of non-small cell lung cancer patients. Clin Cancer Res. 2019 Sep 23. pii: clincanres.1237.2019. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-19-1237. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 1548347
Jeon YJ, Kim T, Park D, Nuovo GJ, Rhee S, Joshi P, Lee BK, Jeong J, Suh SS, Grotzke JE, Kim SH, Song J, Sim H, Kim Y, Peng Y, Jeong Y, Garofalo M, Zanesi N, Kim J, Liang G, Nakano I, Cresswell P, Nana-Sinkam P, Cui R, Croce CM.. miRNA-mediated TUSC3 deficiency enhances UPR and ERAD to promote metastatic potential of NSCLC. Nat Commun. 2018 Nov 30;9(1):5110. PMID:30504895
Rhee S, Chung JI, King DA, D'amato G, Paik DT, Duan A, Chang A, Nagelberg D, Sharma B, Jeong Y, Diehn M, Wu JC, Morrison AJ, Red-Horse K. Endothelial deletion of Ino80 disrupts coronary angiogenesis and causes congenital heart disease. Nat Commun. 2018 Jan 25;9(1):368. doi: 10.1038/s41467-017-02796-3. PMID:29371594
Jeong Y, Hoang NT, Lovejoy A, Stehr H, Newman AM, Gentles AJ, Kong W, Truong D, Martin S, Chaudhuri A, Heiser D, Zhou L, Say C, Carter JN, Hiniker SM, Loo BW Jr, West RB, Beachy P, Alizadeh AA, Diehn M. Role of KEAP1/NRF2 and TP53 Mutations in Lung Squamous Cell Carcinoma Development and Radiation Resistance. Cancer Discov. 2017 Jan;7(1):86-101. doi: 10.1158/2159-8290.CD-16-0127. PMID:27663899
Lee HG, Kim H, Son T, Jeong Y, Kim SU, Dong SM, Park YN, Lee JD, Lee JM, Park JH. Regulation of HK2 expression through alterations in CpG methylation of the HK2 promoter during progression of hepatocellular carcinoma. Oncotarget. 2016 Jul 5;7(27):41798-41810. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.9723. PMID:27260001
Jeong Y, Rhee H, Martin S, Klass D, Lin Y, Nguyen le XT, Feng W, Diehn M. Identification and genetic manipulation of human and mouse oesophageal stem cells. Gut. 2016 Jul;65(7):1077-86. doi: 10.1136/gutjnl-2014-308491. Epub 2015 Apr 20. PMID:25897018
Jeong Y, Swami S, Krishnan AV, Williams JD, Martin S, Horst RL, Albertelli MA, Feldman BJ, Feldman D, Diehn M. Inhibition of Mouse Breast Tumor-Initiating Cells by Calcitriol and Dietary Vitamin D. Mol Cancer Ther. 2015 Aug;14(8):1951-61. doi: 10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-15-0066. Epub 2015 May 1. PMID:25934710
Zhou B, Damrauer JS, Bailey ST, Hadzic T, Jeong Y, Clark K, Fan C, Murphy L, Lee CY, Troester MA, Miller CR, Jin J, Darr D, Perou CM, Levine RL, Diehn M, Kim WY. Erythropoietin promotes breast tumorigenesis through tumor-initiating cell self-renewal. J Clin Invest. 2014 Feb;124(2):553-63. doi: 10.1172/JCI69804. Epub 2014 Jan 2. PMID:24435044
Jeong Y, Du R, Zhu X, Yin S, Wang J, Cui H, Cao W, Lowenstein CJ. Histone deacetylase isoforms regulate innate immune responses by deacetylating mitogen-activated protein kinase phosphatase-1. J Leukoc Biol. 2014 Apr;95(4):651-9. doi: 10.1189/jlb.1013565. Epub 2013 Dec 27. PMID:24374966
Jeong Y, Chaupin DF, Matsushita K, Yamakuchi M, Cameron SJ, Morrell CN, Lowenstein CJ. Aldosterone activates endothelial exocytosis. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Mar 10;106(10):3782-7. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0804037106. Epub 2009 Feb 17. PMID:19223584
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