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Cancer Cell Biology Programme

Growth Factors, Nutrients and Cancer Group

Group Leader:  Nabil Djouder
Research highlights

Pathogenic factors such as poor diets (under-nutrition or micronutrient deficiencies), nutrient overload, alcohol consumption, high-fat and low-fibre diets, ionising radiations, bacteria, virus infection, etc., are risk factors for diseases. How these environmental factors can alter the host’s eukaryotic epithelial cells to cause various pathologies, potentially progressing to cancer, remains largely unknown. Finding new genes affected by environmental stressors, and understanding their functions and role in disease development, may pave the basis of future therapies. Therefore, we specifically focus on the identification of likely causal links between environmental stresses and pathologies, potentially progressing to cancer, and their diagnostics and treatment (theranostics) through the use of nanotechnology.

Molecular chaperones are essential to engage protective mechanisms to ensure cellular and protein homeostasis caused by injurious environmental stimuli. Unconventional prefoldin RPB5 interactor (URI) is a co-chaperone whose expression is modulated by various pathogenic environmental factors. Using URI mouse models generated in our laboratory, combined with various genetic murine models and cutting-edge technologies, we are studying diseases predominantly associated with the gastrointestinal tract (FIGURE)