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K-State Today

November 17, 2016

Division of Biology Seminar and ADVANCE Distinguished Lecture present Frank Slack Nov. 18

Submitted by Division of Biology and ADVANCE Distinguished Lecture Series

Frank Slack

Frank Slack, professor in the pathology department at Harvard Medical School's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, will present "MicroRNA-based therapeutics in cancer" as a high profile speaker for the Division of Biology Seminar Series and ADVANCE Distinguished Lecture Series at 4 p.m. Friday, Nov. 18, in Town Hall at the Leadership Studies Building.

Slack's lecture abstract: MicroRNAs are small noncoding 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.

Slack also is developing effective strategies to target these miRNAs as a novel anticancer approach. Lastly he is examining the noncoding portions of the genome for mutations and variants that are likely to impact the cancer phenotype. Slack has successfully resequenced the 3'UTRome and microRNAome from cancer patients with a family history of cancer.

Find more information on the event's PDF flyer

If you would like to visit with Slack, contact Anna Zinovyeva, assistant professor of biology, 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.