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Research @ Rockford focuses on Cancer Research


Assistant Professor

Research Interests: Pathway for DNA Double-Strand Break repair in human cells is Non-Homologous End Joining (NHEJ). The primary focus of my research is to understand, in molecular detail, how DNA ends that are exposed by a DSB are recognized, protected from degradation and efficiently re-joined in human cells. Much of the research being done in my lab centers on the participation of a small molecule, inositol hexakisphosphate (IP6), in the repair of DSBs by mammalian NHEJ. We have found that IP6 is bound by an NHEJ factor and stimulates NHEJ in vitro. This finding opened new possibilities for investigating the molecular mechanism of NHEJ and exciting new avenues for pharmaceutical control of NHEJ in human cells.

Office: N-301

Phone: 815-395-5924

E-mail: hanakahi@uic.edu 


Assistant Professor 

Research Interests: My lab is interested in issues related to tumor development and tumor detection. Currently, we focus on the role of splicing factors and alternative splicing in ovarian and breast cancer. One project is to study how splicing factors polypyrimidine tract-binding protein (PTB) and SRp20 affect tumorigenic process. We attempt to address the issue at two levels: First, we investigate what cellular or subcellular processes are regulated by these two splicing factors; second, we examine what molecular events and signaling pathways are influenced by PTB and SRp20. Another project is to systematically investigate the functional significance of the splice variants of the genes that play a role in tumor development. The questions we attempt to answer are: 

1) Are there any differences in splicing pattern of these genes between tumor cells and corresponding normal cells;

2) What different molecular functions do the splice variants have; and

3) What phenotypes do the splice variants confer.

The third project is to explore the potential of PTB, SRp20 and their targets as biomarkers for cancer diagnosis, prognosis and response to therapy. We develop methods to detect these molecules in blood and/or tissues and correlate their levels with clinical data. Our ultimate goal is to identify sensitive and specific biomarkers to help management of ovarian cancer.

Office: N-305

Phone: 815-395-5929

E-mail: xiaohe@uic.edu


  • Rohit Kolhatkar, PhD

Assistant Professor 

The research focus of the lab is drug delivery. Our aim is to make use of polymeric nanomaterials for tumor targeted drug delivery. Few drug delivery platforms under investigation in the lab include conventional N-(2-hydroxypropyl) methacrylamide (HPMA) copolymers and dendrimers. We are also investigating application of new degradable dendritic polymers and self assembled nanosystems.  The overall objective of the research is to provide better treatment options for breast cancer patients.

Office: N-302

Phone: 815-395-5922

E-mail: rohitk@uic.edu



  • John Nitiss, PhD

Office: E416

Phone: 815-395-5583

E-mail: jlnitiss@uic.edu