Nutrition & Cancer Biology

The goal of the Nutrition and Cancer Biology Laboratory is to understand the anti-inflammatory role of the bioactive components of fruits/vegetables and to develop the complementary dietary agents that prevent the inflammation associated with carcinogenesis. This laboratory examines how dietary carotenoids, which are concentrated in vegetables (e.g., tomatoes, red pepper, pumpkin, and spinach), and fruits (e.g., orange, watermelon, and pink fruit), vitamin A, vitamin D and fish oil modify molecular and genetic pathways which alter the development of cancers, such as those of the lung, liver, and colon. This laboratory also examines how this response is modified by other exogenous factors (e.g., tobacco smoking, chronic alcohol consumption, high fat diet, and chemical carcinogen exposure). Several approaches, including animal studies, molecular and cell culture studies, and human translational studies are used to elucidate the molecular mechanisms by which those nutrients prevent cancer development.

Lab Objectives
Determine the ability of carotenoid-enriched foods, carotenoids, and apocarotenoids (carotenoid metabolites by carotene cleavage enzymes) to regulate sirtuin 1 (SIRT1) and its down-stream effectors on the inflammation-related cancer development in liver, lung and colon.

Lab Members
Xiang-Dong Wang, M.D., Ph.D., Laboratory Director
Senior Scientist, Director, and Professor
Research focus: Carotenoids, retinoids and cancer prevention

Lynne M. Ausman, Ph.D.
Scientist I and Professor
Research focus: lipid metabolism and colon cancer

Chun Liu, M.D., M.S./M.P.H.
Scientist II
Research focus: carotenoids, retinoids and carcinogenesis
Junrui Cheng, MS, Graduate Student
Rachel A. Chiaverelli, MS, Graduate Student
Connie Hu, M.S., Research Associate
Jelena Mustra Rakic, MS, Graduate Research Assistant

Abigail Thompson, Budget and Administrative Assistant