Our students are engaged in a wide range of academic pursuits that include degree programs in 160 undergraduate and graduate fields delivered by 6 different colleges.
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Dr. Guolei Zhou
Associate Professor of Cell Biology
- Ph.D. - Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Tottori University, Japan
- M.S. - Life Science and Biotechnology, Shimane University, Japan
- M.S. - Genetics and Plant Breeding, Beijing Agricultural University, China
- B.S. - Genetics and Plant Breeding, Beijing Agricultural University, China
- Biology of the Cell (Lecture & Lab for undergraduates)
- Advanced Cell Biology (Lecture for graduate students)
- Environmental Microbiology (Lecture for undergraduate and graduate students)
- Biological Science Laboratory (Lab for undergraduates)
- Human Anatomy and Physiology Laboratory I and II (Labs for undergraduates)
- Independent Study (For Molecular Biosciences Ph.D. Students)
Research in Dr. Zhou’s group is at the interface of cell biology and cancer-focused biomedical science. Our long-term research interests are to understand how the cell signaling system controls the actin cytoskeleton, cell motility, and cancer invasiveness. Specifically, we study two proteins: the versatile actin-regulatory protein CAP1 and the central signaling kinase Akt. We employ a wide range of techniques and approaches that encompass the fields of cell biology, molecular biology, biochemistry and cancer biology, in combination with mammalian cell systems and mouse models for our studies.
Current Research Projects:
- Mechanisms of the Phosphor-regulation of CAP1. Our laboratory has recently identified the very first regulatory mechanism for CAP1, through phosphorylation at Ser307/Ser309. We are investigating further molecular and biochemical mechanisms underlying the phosphor-regulation of CAP1 in promoting actin dynamics. Moreover, we are dissecting signaling pathways that control the actin cytoskeleton through the reversible phosphorylation of CAP1 at the tandem site. De-regulated CAP1 has been implicated in the invasiveness of human cancers, and we are also investigating potential roles of the CAP1 regulation in human cancers.
- Isoform-specific Roles for Akt1 and Akt2 in Pancreatic Cancer. Our earlier work identified a mechanism for Akt to stimulate cell motility by linking to the Rac/PAK signaling. Our follow-up study was also among the first to unravel isoform-specific roles for Akt in cell motility and cancer invasiveness. These studies carry important translational potential because inhibitors for the frequently hyper-activated PI3-kinase/Akt signaling have been widely pursued for targeted cancer therapeutics. Studies so far have revealed cancer-type dependent roles for Akt isoforms; however, little is known about roles for Akt isoforms in pancreatic cancer, for which targeting Akt has been proposed and attempted.