Research

Genomics of Hepatocellular Carcinoma Induced by High-Energy Ionizing Radiation

The Story Lab is part of the NASA Specialized Center of Research in Carcinogenesis (NSCOR) that investigates the risk of liver cancer from space radiation during long-term manned space expeditions. NSCOR is a multi-center research program that includes our lab, as well as others at Colorado State University, UT Medical Branch at Galveston, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Promega.

Our lab hosts two research projects: 1). Biomarker discovery of liver cancer induced by high-energy (HZE) radiation. 2). Mechanisms of radiation-induced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) using genomics analysis. Collaborating with other centers, we used a previously established mouse liver cancer model (C3H mouse) that showed four times more HCC incidence when irradiated with HZE radiation compared to γ-rays. We have studied gene expression profiles, miRNA profiles, SNP profiles, and chromosome structural variations in radiation-induced HCC samples. One of the difficulties hindering the research of space radiation on health is the lack of human data. To address this, our current research focus is comparative genomics between mouse model and human disease using the state-of-art computational approaches for big data analysis.