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1985 …2023

Research activity per year

Personal profile

Research Interests

My research is focused on aspects of gene regulation in the liver during development and disease, including cirrhosis and liver cancer.  Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the most common form of liver cancer, is the fifth most common cancer and the third leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide.  HCC is increasing dramatically in the United States, where it is projected to be the third leading cause of cancer deaths by 2030.  This escalation is due, in part, to the continued rise in obesity-associated Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease.  Much of our research is centered on the relationship between high-fat diet, liver damage and HCC.  We employ a variety of biochemical and molecular genetic strategies using in vitro systems, tissue culture cells, and genetically modified mouse models.  Several years ago, we discovered a gene that encodes a transcription factor called Zinc fingers and homeoboxes 2 (Zhx2).  Interestingly, we have found that Zhx2 controls the expression of genes that regulate lipid levels.  Other studies by my lab and our collaborators suggest that Zhx2 is also involved in HCC. Our research on the role of Zhx2 in fally liver disease and HCC is performed in close collaboration with Drs. Martha Peterson and Jieyun Jiang (Markey Cancer Center, UK) and  Roberto Gedaly (Division Chief of Transplant Surgery at UK). We are also collaborating with Jake Lusis (UCLA) and Chunhong Ma (Shandong University, China).

I have also served as Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) for the Integrated Biomedical Sciences PhD program since 2011, which serves as a gateway to the seven biomedical sciences PhD programs in the UK College of Medicine.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, University Of Pennsylvania


Bachelor of Arts, University Of Southampton


Bachelor of Science, University Of Southampton


Post Doctoral Fellow, Princeton University


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