Dr. Moon’s research statement:
My overall research goal is to study how mutations in human cancers change the cellular characteristics of normal cells to become like cancer cells. In particular, I am interested in the role of a tumor suppressor gene called RB, which was discovered in a childhood cancer of the eye called retinoblastoma. The importance of this gene is illustrated by the findings that RB’s function is compromised in virtually all types of cancers.
There are two major questions I am trying to answer in my lab:
1) Why is RB is inactive in so many different cancer cells?
2) Can we find ways to specifically kill RB mutant cancer cells without affecting normal cells?
To achieve this goal, I use fruit flies as a model system. More than 100 years of fruit fly research helped scientists in developing sophisticated genetic tools and techniques, allowing us investigate various aspects of cancer-promoting genes that are difficult to study in other model systems.