Wnt Signaling Pathways in Regeneration and Regenerative Medicine
Wnts are secreted proteins that activate receptor-mediated signaling pathways involved in regulating gene expression in embryonic development, in stem and progenitor cells in adults, and in chronic disease processes, as well as acute injury. Our ultimate goal is to ensure that advances in understanding Wnt signaling are translated into appropriate therapies. For example, we have recently determined how modulating Wnt/ß-catenin signaling may be therapeutic in treating melanoma. Current questions that students might help answer include the following: Can we identify new proteins by mass spectrometry proteomic screens that function in Wnt pathways and determine how they work? What are the roles of Wnt signaling in the differentiation of stem cells? Can small-molecule inhibitors and activators of Wnt pathways be identified and used as lead compounds for drug development?