Yuh-Hwa Wang, Ph.D.
Human chromosomal rearrangements and fragile sites in cancer; Unusual DNA sequence and structure
Our research focus is to understand the structure and function of unusual DNA sequences in living cells, and how these sequences cause genome instability and lead to human diseases. Human chromosomal fragile sites have been correlated with the chromosomal deletions and gene rearrangements found in many cancers. Our studies are aimed at understanding the genesis of breakpoints that occur at or near fragile sites during oncogenesis. Ongoing projects include genome-wide DNA secondary structure analysis to investigate DNA fragility, roles of fragile sites in cancer-causing gene rearrangements, and investigating the mechanism of RET/PTC rearrangement. We are also interested in developing a DNA fragility test to provide a means to monitor high-risk populations which are susceptible to cancers caused by fragile site-mediated rearrangements.