PhD Candidate Profile: Taopeng Wang

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What is your research about?

Cancer transformation is associated with profound changes in cell architecture that are regulated through the actin cytoskeleton. Tropomyosins have been shown to be key regulators of actin filament function, leading us to propose a hypothesis whereby tropomyosins are directly involved in cancer progression.  This idea is supported by studies that demonstrate that changes in tropomyosin expression correlate with cellular transformation. 

Preliminary data in the lab suggests that tropomyosin 4.2 facilitates the nuclear entry and activation of STAT1, which is a well-characterised tumour suppressor. However, the nature of the interaction between tropomyosin 4.2 and STAT1 remains unclear. My project aims to investigate the impact of the loss of Tpm4.2 and its role in the regulation of the STAT1 tumour suppressor during cancer cell transformation. 

What is translational application of your research?

Alterations in the level and activity of tumour suppressors directly impact cancer initiation and growth.  Understanding the mechanism by which a cytoskeletal protein, Tpm4.2 impacts the tumour suppressor STAT1 will give new insights into cancer biology and identification of potential therapeutic targets.

How would the TCRN PhD top-up Scholarship help you succeed?

The TCRN scholarship offers me a great opportunity to interact and collaborate with other scientists and clinicians in the field of translational cancer research. Being a part of the TCRN ensures that I am inspired to translate basic science into usable therapies for cancer patients.