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Biochemistry
Faculty Profile

Dr. Yusuf Hannun

Director, Stony Brook Cancer Center
Vice Dean for Cancer Medicine
Joel Strum Kenny Professor in Cancer Research
Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology

Health Sciences Tower, Level 4, Rm 182
Stony Brook Cancer Center
Stony Brook, NY 11794-8430
Phone: (631) 444-8067
Fax: (631) 444-1719
E-mail: Yusuf.Hannun@stonybrookmedicine.edu

Research Description

   

Hannun Laboratory

Our laboratory has a long history in studies on bioactive lipids with initial discovery of bioactive sphingolipids.

Sphingolipid Metabolism

We conduct studies on dissecting specific biochemical pathways of sphingolipid metabolism.  We have identified several key enzymes of sphingolipid metabolism, and we study their structure, mechanisms, and roles in cell function. Currently, we have projects on the structures and mechanisms on neutral ceramidase and neutral sphingomyelinase and the mechanisms of their regulation.  We also conduct studies on acid sphingomyelinase, whose deficiency results in Niemann-Pick disease but is also involved in regulation of cell migration and survival.  We also conduct studies in the yeast S. cerevisiae to elucidate the complexity of sphingolipid metabolism and function. In addition to molecular genetic approaches, we have developed mathematical modeling approaches to the study of sphingolipid metabolism.

Sphingolipid Function

Our laboratory is very interested in delineating specific functions of individual pathways of sphingolipid metabolism, with a specific focus on cancer biology and therapeutics. We study the role of neutral sphingomyelinases (and the yeast Isc1) in the DNA damage response, and we are defining its role as a tumor suppressor gene. We study the role of neutral ceramidase in the pathogenesis and therapy of colon cancer. We also study acid sphingomyelinase in migration and metastasis of breast cancer.

Protein Kinase C

Our laboratory has studied protein kinase C since its nascent days. Currently, we focus on defining the roles of protein kinase C isoforms in regulation of the mTOR pathway and in mediating the actions of mutated and aberrant growth factor signaling in cancer.

 


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