Jeffrey D. Laskin
Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
Department of Environmental & Community Medicine
Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute
675 Hoes Lane
Piscataway, NJ 08854
Cancer research, oncogene expression and growth factor mediated signal transduction, tyrosine kinases, immunobiology of inflammation, nitric oxide
Our research is focused on understanding cellular and molecular mechanisms of growth factor mediated signal transduction in tumor cells. Of particular interest to the laboratory are the receptors for epidermal growth factor (EGF), platelet activating factor (PAF), and gamma interferon. Efforts are in progress to identify transcription factors that are tyrosine phosphorylated by these receptors. Another important area of study in the laboratory is centered on the recently discovered signalling molecule, nitric oxide, Important in cell-cell signalling in a variety of physiological processes, efforts are underway to understand the mechanisms regulating its production by mammalian cells. Growth factors have been identified as a major regulator of nitric oxide production. The role of nitric in cellular nitric oxide production are under investigation. The laboratory has discovered that the bone marrow has the capacity to produce large amounts of nitric oxide in response to inflammatory mediators and several bone marrow growth factors including macrophage colony stimulating factor, interleukin-3 and granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor. These cytokines are used clinically to stimulate immune cell development in the bone marrow in cancer and transplantation patients. Nitric oxide production reduces bone marrow cell growth and antagonizes the effectiveness of these colony stimulating factors. Identifying the bone marrow cell populations producing nitric oxide and the mechanisms by which the cytokine receptors are coupled to the nitric oxide synthetic machinery within these cells are major questions currently being addressed in the laboratory.