Hao Huang, Ph.D.

hao huang

The University of Chicago
Study of the inhibitory role of miR-26 in the development of MLL-associated leukemia

Approximately 10% of human acute leukemias are involved in chromosomal translocation between the MLL (mixed lineage leukemia) gene and over 50 partner genes. These leukemias occur preferentially in infant and young children and are often associated with poor outcome. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are recently identified, very small RNA molecules which regulate gene expression. Dr. Huang’s lab found that one of these small RNAs (miR-26) is specifically under-expressed in MLL-associated leukemia. Previous studies have shown that pathological repression of miR-26 antagonizes apoptosis and facilitates carcinogenesis in breast cancer and nasopharyngeal carcinoma through targeting GATA4, GSK3b, and EZH2. His preliminary results suggest that miR-26 may also have an inhibitory function in leukemogenesis. Therefore, Dr. Huang and his team will investigate the inhibitory role of miR-26 and its relevant target pathways in the development of MLL-associated leukemia. His studies will clarify why miR-26 is repressed and what are its downstream targets in this leukemia, which may lead to the identification of critical targets for the effective treatment of leukemias, particularly MLL-associated leukemias.