Neal G. Copeland

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center


Election Year: 2009
Primary Section: 41, Medical Genetics, Hematology, and Oncology
Secondary Section: 26, Genetics
Membership Type: Member

Research Interests

Along with Dr. Nancy Jenkins, my long-term collaborator, we have exploited the power of genetics to model many different human diseases in mice. In our latest research, we showed that it is possible to mobilize Sleeping Beauty (SB), a "cut-and-paste" DNA transposon isolated from salmonoid fish, in mouse somatic cells, at frequencies high enough to induce hematopoietic cancer. Cancer results from SB insertional mutagenesis of cellular proto-oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes, and the analysis of SB integrations sites from these tumors allowed us to identify a number of genes and signaling pathways important for the induction of hematopoietic cancer. More recently, in collaborative studies, we showed that we can also use SB transposition to model solid cancers in mice, by limiting the sites where SB transposition occurs. This genetic resource, combined with recent advances in cloning and sequencing technology, which now makes it possible to clone and sequence million of SB integrations sites from mouse tumors in a single day, affords an opportunity to analyze the mouse cancer genome in a way not possible before and, perhaps, identify new therapeutic targets for the treatment of human cancer.

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