I earned my doctorate degree at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York and completed my postdoctorate training at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) in developmental biology. My work involved defining transcriptional networks that control the balance between states of self-renewal and differentiation in organ-specific progenitors.
My career in science began with the investigations of organ development and birth defects using transgenic and knockout mouse models. We reported that the Six-Eya-Dach transcription network, or the “junta of masters,” controls the tight balance between self-renewal and differentiation of organ-specific progenitors. We are the first to discover and report that the Eya-family proteins are the novel family of protein phosphatases and the activity of which switch transcription repression to transcription activation of the Six-Eya-Dach complex in the renal progenitors. These studies have led to the unexpected discoveries that the Six-Eya-Dach transcription network plays an essential role in breast cancer stem cells.
Since 2013, my lab has focused our efforts on the molecular basis of sex differences in cancer, particularly bladder cancer. Major discoveries include the discovery of lysine demethylase 6A (KDM6A) as the first prototypical female-biased bladder tumor suppressor, and androgen signaling promoting exhaustion of CD8+ T cells in males. Currently, my lab continues to pioneer research with multiple collaborators to elucidate the etiology of sex differences in cancers—specifically in topics such as single cell biology, epigenetics, therapeutics, immunology and the microbiome.