Current Research and Scholarly Interests
Research in the Sage lab investigates the similarities and the differences between cancer cells and both adult and embryonic stem cells. In particular, we are interested in the mechanisms that control the cell cycle of stem cells under normal conditions (such as maintenance of homeostasis and regeneration) and under pathological conditions (such as abnormal proliferation in cancer). A major goal of the lab is to understand the molecular and cellular differences between controlled and uncontrolled stem cell expansion. To this end, we explore how the basic cell cycle machinery functionally interacts with cellular factors crucial for the ability of stem cells to self-renew and differentiate. One area of investigation focuses on the mechanisms of action of the retinoblastoma gene (RB), a tumor suppressor of pediatric and adult cancers; we have demonstrated a key role for RB in the biology of normal and cancerous stem cells. A second goal of the lab is to generate and study mouse models of human cancers, including lung cancer, liver cancer, and pancreatic cancer.