The Vasiliou and Johnson labs are working to elucidate gene-environment interactions and their roles in colon cancer etiology and treatment.
Research in the Vasiliou lab aims to understand the actions of alcohol on gene regulation in colon cancer. ALDH1B1, an alcohol-metabolizing enzyme highly expressed in CRC cells, is a key player in ethanol-induced CRC. The lab is performing analysis of ALDH1B1 in colon cancer tissue samples obtained from alcoholic and non-alcoholic patients, and is assessing the roles of Aldh1b1 in knockout mice and Aldh1b1-/-APCmin/+ (colon specific) mice.
The Johnson Lab is investigating the roles of metabolites in left versus right-sided colon cancer (RCC) development and treatment. As well as providing energy to the host and microbiome, metabolites can regulate epigenetic mechanisms, signaling and contribute to oxidative stress. Thus the Johnson Lab will determine the origin and roles of metabolites in RCC and LCC to understand differences seen in clinical outcomes.