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[2013/03/15] Dr. Muh-Hwa Yang Receives the 2012 Outstanding Research Award of National Science Council
Dr. Muh-Hwa Yang Receives the 2012 Outstanding Research Award of National Science Council

[2013/03/15]

Dr. Muh-Hwa Yang Receives the 2012 Outstanding Research Award of National Science Council

Dr. Muh-Hwa Yang, an associate professor of the Institute of Clinical Medicine, receives the 2012 Outstanding Research Award of National Science Council. Dr. Yang is a M.D.-Ph.D. and also a clinical oncologist specialized in treating head and neck cancer patients. He focuses on investigating the molecular mechanisms of the late-stage progression of head and neck cancers. Since 2007, he and his research team performed a series of study to address this important clinical issue, and he has already won several important academic awards during these years.

The major contributions of Dr. Yang's research include: (1) he discovered that during head and neck cancer progression, the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) inducer Twist1 activates the transcription of a stemness factor BMI1, and Twist1 and BMI1 act cooperatively to promote cancer stemness; (2) he found that the Twist1-BMI1 signal axis regulates the expression of a critical mitotic kinase Aurora A to promote chromosomal instability; (3) he also found that EMT can induce chemotherapy resistance in head and neck cancer cells. These results have been published in the leading journals of cell biology and cancer research fields, including Nature Cell Biology, Cancer Research, Clinical Cancer Research.

The representative study for Dr. Yang's research in this NSC award is that he uncovered the unique movement mode of head and neck cancer cells that are undergoing EMT: Twist1 activates RAC1 to promote "mesenchymal-mode movement" of cancer cells in three-dimensional environments. This movement mode is responsible for local invasiveness of advanced head and neck cancer. This study has been published in Nature Cell Biology in April 2012. The paper was introduced by News & Views of Nature Cell Biology in the same issue, and also introduced by another major journal Current Biology in June 2012.

Dr. Yang thanks the contribution of all research team members, and he hopes that his study could provide contributions for elucidating the underlying causes of late-stage progression of head and neck cancer, and also for developing therapeutic strategies against late-stage cancers.

Dr. Muh-Hwa Yang

Dr. Muh-Hwa Yang


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