Biochemistry
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Yusuf Hannun

Director
Biochemistry and Cell Biology
Stony Brook University
United States of America

Biography

Dr. Yusuf Hannun joined as Professor of Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology,The Stony Brook University School of Medicine.

Research Interest

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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