Nancy Ratner, PhD works to define the interactions between glial cells and axons during nervous system development and how those interactions go awry in disease. Her goal is to develop novel therapies for patients with nervous system diseases, focusing on tumorigenesis in and therapeutics for Neurofibromatosis types 1 and 2.
As a bioinformatician, Kwangmin Choi, PhD, is working on various types of OMICS data, including microarray, RNA-seq, Whole Exome/GEnome-seq, ChIP-seq, ATAC-seq, and many others. He is also interested in developing interactive analysis tools and pipelines for experimental biologists.
As a PhD candidate in the Ratner Lab, Jennifer Patritti Cram works on assessing the impact of an up-regulated protein called P2Y14 in neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1). Their hypothesis is that this receptor plays a role in tumor formation by enhancing specific signaling pathways. She is currently researching the function of this receptor in Schwann cells. Understanding how the P2Y14 receptor signals in Schwann cells could provide therapeutic strategies for neurofibroma patients.
Jay Pundavela, PhD, investigates molecular mediators of RAS-driven inflammation in promoting peripheral nerve tumor formation and progression, which may constitute new therapeutic targets and strategies for NF1 patients. His methodologies involve using NF1 and bone marrow chimeric mice models, functional assays of primary cell cultures and flow cytometry analysis.
Craig Thomson is a Pharmacology & Systems Physiology graduate research assistant dissecting the role of Wingless/Int1 (WNT) signaling in the tumorigenesis of Malignant Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumors. They understand very little about WNT in biological systems because of its incredible complexity, but through molecular and genetic perturbation, they hope to develop therapeutics to reverse disease progression.
Jianqiang Wu, MD's research focus is on 1) role of Runt-related transcription factor genes and microRNA-155 in neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) related neurofibroma formation and 2) neurofibroma preclinical therapeutic texting.
Yanan Yu is working on screening non-NF1 genetic variants that may contribute to neurofibromas by whole exome sequencing (WES). She follows up with functional analysis of some candidates—ATM, PPP2R3A to neurofibromas formation or progression by tumor sphere or xenograft assay.