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Hippo Pathway in Cell Growth, Organ Size, and Cancer
Prof. GUAN Kun-Liang, Distinguished Professor of Pharmacology and Moores Cancer Center, University of California, San Diego
Date : 22 Mar 2019 (Friday)
Time : 4:00 - 5:30 pm
Venue : Padma and Hari Harilela Lecture Theater (LT-C), HKUST
Co-sponsored by Center of Systems Biology and Human Health
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The Hippo pathway is crucial in organ size control and its dysregulation contributes to tumorigenesis. Core components of the Hippo pathway include the protein kinases of MST1/2, MAP4Ks, LATS1/2, the transcription co-activators YAP/TAZ and their DNA binding partners TEADs. LATS phosphorylates YAP/TAZ to promote cytoplasmic localization and degradation, thereby inhibiting YAP/TAZ and cell growth. The TEAD transcription factors also shuttle between nuclear and cytoplasm in a Hippo independent manner. The Hippo pathway is regulated by a wide range of signals, including cell density, GPCR, cellular energy levels, and mechanical cues. The emerging role of the Hippo pathway in tumorigenesis suggests potential therapeutic value of targeting this pathway for cancer treatment. 


About the speaker

Prof. Guan Kun-Liang is a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Moores Cancer Center at University of California, San Diego (UCSD). He received his BS in Biology from Hangzhou University, China in 1982, and subsequently completed his PhD in Biochemistry at Purdue University with Prof. Henry WEINER in 1989. Before joining UCSD in 2007, he was affiliated with the faculty of the University of Michigan for 25 years, where he was Halvor Christensen Professor in Life Sciences from 2003 onward.  

Prof. Guan has been studying signal transduction in cell growth regulation and tumorigenesis for almost 30 years. As a Postdoctoral Fellow, he discovered the dual specific protein phosphatase family and a novel biochemical catalysis via thiophosphate intermediate. Early works from his laboratory led to the cloning of human MEK1/2 and education of the activation mechanisms of MEK and Raf. In the last 20 years, Prof. Guan and his research team have been studying the mTOR and Hippo pathways in regulation of metabolism, cell growth, tissue and organ size control, and cancer. They use a broad range of techniques, including biochemistry, molecular and cell biology, genetics and genomics, bioinformatics, and mouse models. Recently, the research team has been focusing their efforts on the Hippo pathway as both their publications and citations are number one in the Hippo field. 

Prof. Guan has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the MacArthur Fellowship (also known as the Genius Grant) in 1998 and the Young Investigator Award by the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in 1999. He was also elected 2011 Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and received the Ray Wu Award by the Chinese Biological Investigators (CBI) Society in the same year. Prof. Guan was named 2014 Highly Cited Researcher in Molecular Biology and Genetics. He has co-authored 320 peer-reviewed scientific papers. 

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