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research overview Dr. Park’s study is focused on two proteins – Crk and CrkL – that are reported to be elevated in some GBM patients and correlated with poor prognosis. Tumor cell migration and invasion contribute to the spread of GBM to healthy brain tissues, leading to high recurrence rates. Dr. Park has demonstrated that Crk and CrkL play important roles in GBM cell migration and invasion. Dr. Park is working to develop specific inhibitors of these proteins to block GBM cell migration and invasion. In the lab, he and his team take advantage of genetically engineered mouse models and the gene knockdown technique to study tumorigenic functions of Crk and CrkL. They identified a protein that is activated by elevation of Crk and CrkL and binds to Crk and CrkL. The new malignant connection promotes tumor cell migration and invasion. Dr. Park’s goal is to develop drugs that specifically break down the aberrant protein-protein complex between Crk and CrkL and their binding partners. To test effects of chemical compounds on the binding of these proteins, Dr. Park developed an in vitro assay system and conducted a high-throughput screen. In partnership with the University of Kansas Cancer Center, the team has tested 200,000 chemical compounds and identified more than 600 potential candidate drugs. Today, these compounds are undergoing rigorous post-screening validation using different biochemical experiments.

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  • In Vitro Techniques