Welcome to the Ding Lab
The Ding Lab studies the molecular mechanisms that control the metabolic processes critical for cancer growth, focusing on childhood cancer neuroblastoma. His team currently investigates how cancer cells coordinate and activate various metabolic pathways to increase the production of building blocks for synthesizing proteins, nucleic acids, and lipids required for cell growth and proliferation. A molecular understanding of this metabolic reprogramming process may identify vulnerabilities that can be exploited for cancer therapy and biomarkers for diagnosis, prognosis, and monitoring treatment responses.
- To gain a broad understanding of the molecular mechanisms that drive cancer metabolism for therapeutic development.
- To create and maintain an outstanding laboratory for innovative biomedical research and for training next-generation scientists.
Metabolic reprogramming has a central role in the initiation and progression of cancer. This rewiring of cellular metabolism increases the manufacture of fuel and building blocks for biomass production, which is essential to sustain the growth and proliferation of cancer cells. However, the rewiring also makes cancer cells metabolically distinct from normal cells, thereby offering new therapeutic opportunities. We are investigating the molecular basis for the concept that metabolic reprogramming is intrinsically associated with sensitization to metabolic stress, providing a molecular rationale for manipulating metabolism in the direction of cancer therapy.
Neuroblastoma is a pediatric cancer of the sympathetic nervous system. Approximately half of all neuroblastoma cases are high-risk, with a poor overall survival rate, despite the remarkable advances in neuroblastoma therapy in recent years. A significant focus of our research is to identify metabolic vulnerabilities of high-risk neuroblastoma for therapeutic exploitation.