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K-State Today

November 7, 2016

Frank Slack to present Division of Biology Seminar Nov. 18

Submitted by Division of Biology


Frank Slack, BIDMC/Harvard Medical School, will present "MicroRNA-based therapeutics in cancer" as a high profile speaker for the Division of Biology Seminar Series at 4 p.m. Friday, Nov. 18, in the Town Hall of the  Leadership Studies Building.

The abstract for the lecture is derived from MicroRNAs, small non-coding RNAs that regulate gene expression to control important aspects of development and metabolism such as cell differentiation, apoptosis and lifespan. miR-21, miR-155, let-7 and miR-34 are microRNAs implicated in human cancer. Specifically, human let-7 and miR-34 are poorly expressed or deleted in lung cancer, and over-expression of let-7 or miR-34 in lung cancer cells inhibits their growth, demonstrating a role for these miRNAs as tumor suppressors in lung tissue. let-7 and miR-34 regulate the expression of important oncogenes implicated in lung cancer, suggesting a mechanism for their involvement in cancer.  Slack is focused on the role of these genes in regulating proto-oncogene expression during development and cancer, and on using miRNAs to suppress tumorigenesis. In contrast, miR-21 and miR-155 are oncomiRs and up-regulated in many cancer types. He is also developing effective strategies to target these miRNAs as a novel anti-cancer approach. Lastly he is examining the non-coding portions of the genome for mutations and variants that are likely to impact the cancer phenotype. Dr. Slack has successfully resequenced the 3’UTRome and microRNAome from cancer patients with a family history of cancer.

If you would like to visit with Slack, contact Anna Zinovyeva at zinovyeva@k-state.edu. Slack’s visit is co-sponsored by the Division of Biology and the K-State Office for the Advancement of Women in Science and Engineering, or KAWSE, through the ADVANCE Distinguished Lecture Series.

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