Hui Zong, PhD
Zong lab uses a cutting-edge mouse genetic system called
MADM (Mosaic Analysis with Double Markers) to study cancer initiation, with the ultimate goal to discover early detection markers and to develop effective cancer prevention strategies [Zong, 2005 Cell]. MADM generates rare GFP-labeled TSG-null cells and RFP-labeled sibling wild type (WT) cells, closely mimicking clonal origin of cancer and clearly revealing aberrant behaviors of green mutant cells in comparison to their red WT siblings long before any lesions are histopathologically detectable. Using MADM to model brain tumors, the Zong lab has discovered that oligodendrocyte precursor cell (OPC) serves as a cell of origin for malignant glioma [Liu 2011 Cell], and plans to investigate how mechanistic changes in OPCs lead to a devastating type of pediatric glioma known as DIPG (diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma). Additionally, taking advantage of the lineage-tracing capability of MADM, Zong lab revealed an intricately organized cooperative community in medulloblastoma, another type of pediatric brain tumor, in which some tumor cells trans-differentiate into tumor microenvironment cells that in turn coerce immune cells to support tumor progression [Yao, 2020 Cell]. In summary, Zong lab has discovered multilayered complexity in the cellular network within pediatric brain tumors, and hopes to translate these findings into clinics in near future.