New appointment to the Human Molecular Genetics Program
Michael Klüppel, PhD, joined the Human Molecular Genetics Program at Children’s Memorial Research Center from the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute of Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, Canada, where he worked as a postdoctoral fellow and research associate in the laboratory of Dr. Jeffrey Wrana. His main interest was the identification and characterization of target genes of the TGFbeta signaling pathway. Dr. Klüppel elucidated the importance of C4ST-1, a TGFbeta target gene crucial for the biosynthesis of chondroitin sulfate, during mammalian development, and was also able to demonstrate an important functional role of the C4ST-1 gene in Costello syndrome, a pediatric disease caused by oncogenic Ras signaling. His investigations at the research center will focus on the characterization of the functional importance of chondroitin sulfate and chondroitin sulfate modifying enzymes (including C4ST-1) at the convergence of the Ras and TGFbeta signaling pathways in pediatric diseases including Costello syndrome. Importantly, his laboratory will extend these studies to understand the roles of chondroitin sulfate and chondroitin sulfate modifying enzymes during cancer progression, a process tightly controlled by both Ras and TGFbeta signaling.