Dr. Jin Chen and team

Jin Chen Laboratory

Our laboratory investigates the role of Eph receptor tyrosine kinases and their ligands, ephrins, in tumor metabolism, cancer metastasis, and tumor angiogenesis.

Our approach involves a combination of oncogenomics and proteomics, confocal microscopy and imaging, transgenic and knock out animal models, and traditional cell biology and biochemistry techniques. Eph RTKs and their ligands are dysregulated in tumor tissues and expression of these molecules is associated with clinical outcome of various cancer types. In particular, EphA2 receptor plays critical roles in both tumor cells and tumor blood vessels.

Our laboratory demonstrated that epithelial EphA2 is required for cell proliferation and tumor initiation. We also showed that vascular endothelial EphA2 promotes tumor progression through angiogenesis. As EphA2 regulates both tumor cells and host microenvironment, it is a good target for cancer therapy. Several anti-EphA2 agents have been developed and we are testing selective small molecule Eph receptor kinase inhibitors. In addition, we are investigating several signaling pathways downstream of EphA2 receptor, including mTORC1 and mTORC2 and PLCgamma.

Current Projects:

  1. Ephrin-A1 in tumor metabolism in breast cancer

  2. EphA2 in K-Ras and TKI-resistant EGFR mutant lung cancer

  3. Developing EphA2-specific kinase inhibitors

  4. mTORC1 and mTORC2 in tumor vasculature

  5. Developing mTORC2-specific 

Jin Chen, MD, PhD and colleagues