Ken S Lau, Ph.D.
- Assistant Professor
The central goal of my lab is to understand how the microenvironment affect epithelial cell behaviors in the context of human diseases, specifically, in inflammatory bowel diseases and colorectal cancer. Aberrant cell specification is now recognized to be a major factor in various intestinal diseases. For example, dysfunctional Goblet and Paneth cells in the intestine contribute to barrier defects, while progenitor-like colorectal cancer cells are prone to therapeutic resistance and metastasis. Devising ways to control these aberrant behaviors may lead to effective therapeutic strategies to combat these complex diseases. My lab uses systems biology approaches to understand the signaling mechanisms that control the differentiating cell populations in the intestine (defined loosely as transit amplifying cells) as they become exposed to various in vivo environments. We want to characterize the degree of heterogeneity and plasticity in such populations, and to leverage such properties for reversing pathological behaviors.
- Ph.D. 2002-2008 University of Toronto
- Postdoctoral Fellowship 2008-2012 Massachusetts General Hospital/MIT