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Liya Gu

Associate Professor
Director of Graduate Studies

Graduate Center for Toxicology

Mailing Address:
Graduate Center for Toxicology
1095 V.A. Drive
306 Health Sciences Research Building
Lexington, KY  40536-0305
Office: 561 BPC
Phone: (859) 323-0285
Fax: (859) 323-1059

Research Interests

Our research interests are focused on understanding the molecular mechanism underlying leukemia relapse. There are more than 22,000 deaths to relapsed leukemia each year in United States, but neither the molecular pathology nor the treatment of the disease is available. Since leukemia relapse is essentially caused by the expansion of residual leukemia cells that have survived chemotherapeutic treatments and since tumor cells deficient in DNA mismatch repair are highly resistant to chemotherapeutics, we hypothesize that leukemia relapse is associated with defects in mismatch repair. This hypothesis is supported by our recent observations that leukemic cells derived from certain patients with relapsed leukemia are defective in mismatch repair. Using both genetic and biochemical approaches, we are working on the following projects to better understand the pathogenesis of leukemia relapse so that effective therapeutic regimens can be designed/developed to prevent/cure leukemia relapse:

  1. Develop a real-time PCR approach for early detection of residual leukemic cells defective in mismatch repair.
  1. Identify and verify mutations of mismatch repair genes in patients with relapsed leukemia.
  1. Screen drugs that specifically kill the mismatch repair deficient leukemic cells, but not wild-type blood cells.

For a list of Dr. Gu's publications, please visit the PubMed web site.

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