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David Mu

    • Title:
    • Professor

    • Role:
    • Faculty

    • Faculty Appointments:
    • Additional Certifications:
    • Focus Areas:
    • Office Location:
    • Lester Hall

    • Undergraduate Education:
    • Graduate Education:
    • Ph.D. in Chemistry 9/1988 ~ 12/1993:

      Graduate Student with Prof. Judith P. Klinman (NAS member), Department of Chemistry, University of California at Berkeley. Research activities focus on the protein biochemistry and enzymology of novel enzyme cofactor – topa quinone – and the enzymes that contain topa quinone.

    • Postdoctoral Education:
    • Postdoctoral  Research 1/1994 ~ 3/1998:

      Damon Runyon-Walter Winchell Postdoctoral Fellow with Prof. Aziz Sancar (NAS member), Department of Biochemistry & Biophysics, School of Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Research activities focus on the mechanistic study of human DNA excision repair activity that removes DNA adducts.

    • Medical Education:
    • Residency:
    • Fellowship(s):
    • Board Certification(s):
    • Affiliation(s):
    • Member: Editorial Board of Scientific Reports, a journal of the Nature Publishing Group

    • Research Interests:
    • Keywords:  MicroRNA biology, Cancer Research, Lung cancer and biology, Cancer genomics, Molecular study of oncogene mechanism, Oncogenic signaling, Cancer cell metabolism, and Finding new uses of old drugs.


      I. MicroRNAs and mechanism of lung cancer genes

      Oncogenes activated via gene amplification have a proven track record of being amenable to invention of new anti-cancer therapies. We and others discovered a recurrent amplified region in lung cancer genomes. This amplicon contains the TTF-1 gene (thyroid transcription factor 1 or known as NKX2-1) which is essential for lung development and morphogenesis. We are interested in mapping the interconnection between TTF-1 and microRNAs to afford novel entry points to investigate TTF-1-linked lung biology. Using a variety of experimental approaches, our laboratory is the first to discover the two types of TTF-1-linked microRNAs – an upstream microRNA that directly regulates TTF-1 expression and downstream microRNAs that are regulated by TTF-1. Currently, we are investigating the biology of these interactions between microRNAs and a lung cancer/development gene.


      II. New uses of old drugs

      In order to minimize the exorbitant costs and risks of de novo drug discovery and development, our strategy is to use off-patent marketed small molecule drugs as the starting point of drug discovery efforts, i.e. repurposing/repositioning an old drug for a new use. Medications that have come off patent are affordable for patients and have well documented biological, toxicological, and pharmacokinetic studies associated with them. Consequently, functional screening of such “old drugs” may readily yield chemicals for immediate clinical trials. Furthermore, “off-label” prescribing allows physicians to innovate with treatments based on emerging research data. Towards this end, we are conducting a multitude of cell-based screens to uncover new utilities of “old drugs” in fighting cancers. This line of research entails a highly translational goal in sight.  Although cancer is the focal point of our work, our approach is in principle transplantable and could be used to discover novel therapeutic strategies to treat other diseases. There are approximately 9990 drugs known to clinical medicine. Each drug should be considered an information-rich entity that merits exploration especially as treatment of orphan diseases.

    • Primary Specialty:
    • Hospital:
    • Courses Taught:
    • DNA Microarray Course Director, Biotech Masters Graduate Program

    • Current Projects:
    • Bio:

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