Brian Bierie

Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States

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Publications (31)248.27 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: It is increasingly appreciated that oncogenic transformation alters cellular metabolism to facilitate cell proliferation, but less is known about the metabolic changes that promote cancer cell aggressiveness. Here, we analyzed metabolic gene expression in cancer cell lines and found that a set of high-grade carcinoma lines expressing mesenchymal markers share a unique 44 gene signature, designated the "mesenchymal metabolic signature" (MMS). A FACS-based shRNA screen identified several MMS genes as essential for the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), but not for cell proliferation. Dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPYD), a pyrimidine-degrading enzyme, was highly expressed upon EMT induction and was necessary for cells to acquire mesenchymal characteristics in vitro and for tumorigenic cells to extravasate into the mouse lung. This role of DPYD was mediated through its catalytic activity and enzymatic products, the dihydropyrimidines. Thus, we identify metabolic processes essential for the EMT, a program associated with the acquisition of metastatic and aggressive cancer cell traits.
    Cell. 08/2014; 158(5):1094-109.
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    ABSTRACT: The epithelial-mesenchymal transition program becomes activated during malignant progression and can enrich for cancer stem cells (CSCs). We report that inhibition of protein kinase C α (PKCα) specifically targets CSCs but has little effect on non-CSCs. The formation of CSCs from non-stem cells involves a shift from EGFR to PDGFR signaling and results in the PKCα-dependent activation of FRA1. We identified an AP-1 molecular switch in which c-FOS and FRA1 are preferentially utilized in non-CSCs and CSCs, respectively. PKCα and FRA1 expression is associated with the aggressive triple-negative breast cancers, and the depletion of FRA1 results in a mesenchymal-epithelial transition. Hence, identifying molecular features that shift between cell states can be exploited to target signaling components critical to CSCs.
    Cancer cell 09/2013; 24(3):347-64. · 25.29 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Although p120-catenin (p120) is crucial for E-cadherin function, ablation experiments in epithelial tissues from different organ systems reveal markedly different effects. Here, we examine for the first time the consequences of p120 knockout during mouse mammary gland development. An MMTV-Cre driver was used to target knockout to the epithelium at the onset of puberty. p120 ablation was detected in approximately one-quarter of the nascent epithelium at the forth week post-partum. However, p120 null cells were essentially nonadherent, excluded from the process of terminal end bud (TEB) morphogenesis and lost altogether by week six. This elimination process caused a delay in TEB outgrowth, after which the gland developed normally from cells that had retained p120. Mechanistic studies in vitro indicate that TEB dysfunction is likely to stem from striking E-cadherin loss, failure of cell-cell adhesion and near total exclusion from the collective migration process. Our findings reveal an essential role for p120 in mammary morphogenesis.
    Development 03/2012; 139(10):1754-64. · 6.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), one of the most lethal neoplasms, is characterized by an expanded stroma with marked fibrosis (desmoplasia). We previously generated pancreas epithelium-specific TGF-β receptor type II (Tgfbr2) knockout mice in the context of Kras activation (mice referred to herein as Kras+Tgfbr2KO mice) and found that they developed aggressive PDAC that recapitulated the histological manifestations of the human disease. The mouse PDAC tissue showed strong expression of connective tissue growth factor (Ctgf), a profibrotic and tumor-promoting factor, especially in the tumor-stromal border area, suggesting an active tumor-stromal interaction. Here we show that the PDAC cells in Kras+Tgfbr2KO mice secreted much higher levels of several Cxc chemokines compared with mouse pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia cells, which are preinvasive. The Cxc chemokines induced Ctgf expression in the pancreatic stromal fibroblasts, not in the PDAC cells themselves. Subcutaneous grafting studies revealed that the fibroblasts enhanced growth of PDAC cell allografts, which was attenuated by Cxcr2 inhibition. Moreover, treating the Kras+Tgfbr2KO mice with the CXCR2 inhibitor reduced tumor progression. The decreased tumor progression correlated with reduced Ctgf expression and angiogenesis and increased overall survival. Taken together, our data indicate that tumor-stromal interactions via a Cxcr2-dependent chemokine and Ctgf axis can regulate PDAC progression. Further, our results suggest that inhibiting tumor-stromal interactions might be a promising therapeutic strategy for PDAC.
    The Journal of clinical investigation 09/2011; 121(10):4106-17. · 15.39 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Current models of stem cell biology assume that normal and neoplastic stem cells reside at the apices of hierarchies and differentiate into nonstem progeny in a unidirectional manner. Here we identify a subpopulation of basal-like human mammary epithelial cells that departs from that assumption, spontaneously dedifferentiating into stem-like cells. Moreover, oncogenic transformation enhances the spontaneous conversion, so that nonstem cancer cells give rise to cancer stem cell (CSC)-like cells in vitro and in vivo. We further show that the differentiation state of normal cells-of-origin is a strong determinant of posttransformation behavior. These findings demonstrate that normal and CSC-like cells can arise de novo from more differentiated cell types and that hierarchical models of mammary stem cell biology should encompass bidirectional interconversions between stem and nonstem compartments. The observed plasticity may allow derivation of patient-specific adult stem cells without genetic manipulation and holds important implications for therapeutic strategies to eradicate cancer.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 05/2011; 108(19):7950-5. · 9.81 Impact Factor
  • Brian R. Bierie, Harold L. Moses
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    ABSTRACT: TGF-β is an important regulator of carcinoma initiation, progression and metastasis. Over the past three decades, much of the research related to TGF-β signaling has been directed toward cell autonomous effects of stimulation. However, it is now known that TGF-β signaling regulates intrinsic cell autonomous signal transduction in addition to cross-talk between adjacent cell populations. The latter effect of TGF-β signaling in the tumor microenvironment has been elevated in priority with regard to investigating paracrine cross-talk that may targeted to manage human carcinoma recurrence and improve overall survival. At present several regulatory mechanisms have been identified in association with stromal fibroblast responses to TGF-β that can regulate adjacent epithelial tumor initiation, progression and metastasis. TGF-β can suppress the production of tumor promoting paracrine signals including HGF, Mst-1, TGF-α, WNT-2, WNT3A and WNT5A. When TGF-β signaling was lost in fibroblasts, which has been shown to occur during carcinoma progression, these paracrine ligands may be increased and thereby contribute to adjacent carcinoma progression. Conversely, TGF-β can cause a fibroblast to myofibroblast transition that has also been associated with adjacent carcinoma progression. Further, TGF-β production by fibroblasts has been shown to increase the sensitivity of carcinoma cells to signals such as SDF-1 that is abundantly expressed by carcinoma associated fibroblasts. At present, the literature suggests that the TGF-β response by fibroblasts and fibroblast production of TGF-β ligands can suppress or promote adjacent carcinoma progression depending upon the context of stimulation.
    12/2010: pages 223-243;
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    Brian Bierie, Harold L Moses
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    ABSTRACT: The transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta) has been studied with regard to the regulation of cell behavior for over three decades. A large body of research has been devoted to the regulation of epithelial cell and derivative carcinoma cell populations in vitro and in vivo. TGF-beta has been shown to inhibit epithelial cell cycle progression and promote apoptosis that together significantly contribute to the tumor suppressive role for TGF-beta during carcinoma initiation and progression. TGF-beta is also able to promote an epithelial to mesenchymal transition that has been associated with increased tumor cell motility, invasion and metastasis. However, it has now been shown that loss of carcinoma cell responsiveness to TGF-beta stimulation can also promote metastasis. Interestingly, enhanced metastasis in the absence of a carcinoma cell response to TGF-beta stimulation has been shown to involve increased chemokine production resulting in recruitment of pro-metastatic myeloid derived suppressor cell (MDSC) populations to the tumor microenvironment at the leading invasive edge. When present, MDSCs enhance angiogenesis, promote immune tolerance and provide matrix degrading enzymes that promote tumor progression and metastasis. Further, the recruitment of MDSC populations in this context likely enhances the classic role for TGF-beta in immune suppression since the MDSCs are an abundant source of TGF-beta production. Importantly, it is now clear that carcinoma-immune cell cross-talk initiated by TGF-beta signaling within the carcinoma cell is a significant determinant worth consideration when designing therapeutic strategies to manage tumor progression and metastasis.
    Cytokine & growth factor reviews 12/2009; 21(1):49-59. · 6.49 Impact Factor
  • Brian Bierie, Harold L Moses
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    ABSTRACT: The transforming growth factor beta (TGFbeta) is a potent regulator of tumor initiation, progression and metastasis. It has been known for many years that TGFbeta signaling in the carcinoma cell can suppress or promote tumor progression depending on the context of stimulation. While the impact of TGFbeta on the carcinoma cell is significant, it is now generally accepted that primary and metastatic carcinoma progression is regulated by an intricate network of host-tumor cell interactions. Interestingly, recent results have revealed that gain or loss of TGFbeta signaling in carcinoma cells can promote metastasis through carcinoma cell derived TGFbeta dependent host-tumor cell interactions in vivo. Further, gain or complete abrogation of TGFbeta signaling was shown to result in gene expression signatures that correlated with poor patient prognosis in breast cancer. Specifically, the TGFbeta responsive gene expression signature correlated with poor prognosis for estrogen receptor negative (ER(-)) breast cancer while complete abrogation of TGFbeta signaling resulted in a correlation with poor outcome in lymph node positive (LN(+)) and ER(+) breast cancers. Importantly, in both cases the correlation with poor prognosis was linked to carcinoma cell derived interactions with the adjacent microenvironment. Together the current results suggest that, in addition to intrinsic carcinoma cell signaling, TGFbeta dependent host-tumor cell interactions should be considered when designing therapeutic strategies to manage carcinoma progression.
    Cell cycle (Georgetown, Tex.) 10/2009; 8(20):3319-27. · 5.24 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In human breast cancer, loss of carcinoma cell-specific response to TGF-beta signaling has been linked to poor patient prognosis. However, the mechanisms through which TGF-beta regulates these processes remain largely unknown. In an effort to address this issue, we have now identified gene expression signatures associated with the TGF-beta signaling pathway in human mammary carcinoma cells. The results strongly suggest that TGF-beta signaling mediates intrinsic, stromal-epithelial, and host-tumor interactions during breast cancer progression, at least in part, by regulating basal and oncostatin M-induced CXCL1, CXCL5, and CCL20 chemokine expression. To determine the clinical relevance of our results, we queried our TGF-beta-associated gene expression signatures in 4 human breast cancer data sets containing a total of 1,319 gene expression profiles and associated clinical outcome data. The signature representing complete abrogation of TGF-beta signaling correlated with reduced relapse-free survival in all patients; however, the strongest association was observed in patients with estrogen receptor-positive (ER-positive) tumors, specifically within the luminal A subtype. Together, the results suggest that assessment of TGF-beta signaling pathway status may further stratify the prognosis of ER-positive patients and provide novel therapeutic approaches in the management of breast cancer.
    The Journal of clinical investigation 06/2009; 119(6):1571-82. · 15.39 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A subset of neoplastic cells within human high-grade gliomas has features associated with stem cells. These cells may sustain glioma growth, and their stem-like properties may confer resistance to standard glioma treatments. Whether glioma stem cells derive from indigenous neural stem cells (NSC), or from tumor cells that have reacquired stem cell-like properties, is unknown. However, signaling pathways that are tightly regulated and central to NSC biology, including the Ras/Raf/Erk pathway, are hyperactive and pathogenic in gliomagenesis. Furthermore, data in animal models suggests that, in some cases, tumors are initiated in the subventricular zone (SVZ), a stem/progenitor cell niche in the mature brain. We activated oncogenic K-ras in mouse glioneuronal precursor cells and adult SVZ cells using GFAP-Cre. GFAP-Cre+/K-ras(G12D) mice showed a marked expansion of glial fibriallary acidic protein (GFAP)- and TUJ1-expressing cell populations in the SVZ. In addition, mice developed intermediate grade, infiltrating glioma with 100% penetrance. Tumors were consistently located in the amygdalohippocampal region and nearby cortex, often in association with the lateral ventricle and expanded SVZ. Tumor cells expressed markers associated with neural progenitor cells, including Olig2, Bmi-1, and PDGFR-alpha. These data suggest that infiltrating tumor cells may arise from NSC transformed by activation of oncogenic K-ras in vivo.
    Molecular Cancer Research 06/2009; 7(5):645-53. · 4.35 Impact Factor
  • Journal of Clinical Investigation - J CLIN INVEST. 01/2009; 119(6):1571-1582.
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    ABSTRACT: Transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta) ligands are known to regulate virgin mammary development and contribute to initiation of post-lactation involution. However, the role for TGF-beta during the second phase of mammary involution has not been addressed. Previously, we have used an MMTV-Cre transgene to delete exon 2 from the Tgfbr2 gene in mammary epithelium, however we observed a gradual loss of T beta RII deficient epithelial cells that precluded an accurate study of the role for TGF-beta signaling during involution timepoints. Therefore, in order to determine the role for TGF-beta during the second phase of mammary involution we have now targeted T beta RII ablation within mammary epithelium using the WAP-Cre transgene [T beta RII(WKO)Rosa26R]. Our results demonstrated that TGF-beta regulates commitment to cell death during the second phase of mammary involution. Importantly, at day 3 of mammary involution the Na-Pi type IIb co-transporter (Npt2b), a selective marker for active lactation in luminal lobular alveolar epithelium, was completely silenced in the WAP-Cre control and T beta RII(WKO)Rosa26R tissues. However, by day 7 of involution the T beta RII(WKO)Rosa26R tissues had distended lobular alveoli and regained a robust Npt2b signal that was detected at the apical luminal surface. The Npt2b abundance and localization positively correlated with elevated WAP mRNA expression, suggesting that the distended alveoli were the result of an active lactation program rather than residual milk protein and lipid accumulation. In summary, the results suggest that an epithelial cell response to TGF-beta signaling regulates commitment to cell death and suppression of lactation during the second phase of mammary involution.
    Journal of Cellular Physiology 01/2009; 219(1):57-68. · 4.22 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The role of Wnt/beta-Catenin signaling in embryogenesis and carcinogenesis has been extensively studied in organs such as colon, lung and pancreas, but little is known about Wnt/beta-Catenin signaling in the prostate. Although stabilizing mutations in APC and beta-Catenin are rare in primary prostate tumors, recent studies suggest that cytoplasmic/nuclear beta-Catenin is associated with advanced, metastatic, hormone-refractory prostate carcinoma. To better understand the role of beta-Catenin in prostatic development and carcinogenesis, we studied Wnt expression during prostate development and activated Wnt/beta-Catenin signaling in the developing and adult prostate. Our results demonstrated that during prostate development Wnt ligands display a dynamic expression pattern. Activation of beta-Catenin during prostate development caused epithelial hyperplasia followed by prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN) in prostate. In the adult prostate, activation of beta-Catenin resulted in high grade PIN (HGPIN) and continuous prostatic growth after castration. As a result of activation of beta-Catenin, AR was first up-regulated with the emergence of epithelial hyperplasia, but was later down-regulated when HGPIN developed. Furthermore, activation of beta-Catenin induced Foxa2 re-expression in adult prostate which normally is only expressed in the embryonic budding stage during prostate development. The results from this study strongly suggest that Wnt/beta-Catenin signaling is involved in the regulation of prostate development and confirm that constitutive activation of this pathway enables the mouse prostate to grow after castration.
    The Prostate 12/2008; 69(3):249-62. · 3.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta signaling has been associated with early tumor suppression and late tumor progression; however, many of the mechanisms that mediate these processes are not known. Using Cre/LoxP technology, with the whey acidic protein promoter driving transgenic expression of Cre recombinase (WAP-Cre), we have now ablated the type II TGF-beta receptor (T beta RII) expression specifically within mouse mammary alveolar progenitors. Transgenic expression of the polyoma virus middle T antigen, under control of the mouse mammary tumor virus enhancer/promoter, was used to produce mammary tumors in the absence or presence of Cre (T beta RII((fl/fl);PY) and T beta RII((fl/fl);PY;WC), respectively). The loss of TGF-beta signaling significantly decreased tumor latency and increased the rate of pulmonary metastasis. The loss of TGF-beta signaling was significantly correlated with increased tumor size and enhanced carcinoma cell survival. In addition, we observed significant differences in stromal fibrovascular abundance and composition accompanied by increased recruitment of F4/80(+) cell populations in T beta RII((fl/fl);PY;WC) mice when compared with T beta RII((fl/fl);PY) controls. The recruitment of F4/80(+) cells correlated with increased expression of known inflammatory genes including Cxcl1, Cxcl5, and Ptgs2 (cyclooxygenase-2). Notably, we also identified an enriched K5(+) dNp63(+) cell population in primary T beta RII((fl/fl);PY;WC) tumors and corresponding pulmonary metastases, suggesting that loss of TGF-beta signaling in this subset of carcinoma cells can contribute to metastasis. Together, our current results indicate that loss of TGF-beta signaling in mammary alveolar progenitors may affect tumor initiation, progression, and metastasis through regulation of both intrinsic cell signaling and adjacent stromal-epithelial interactions in vivo.
    Cancer Research 04/2008; 68(6):1809-19. · 9.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The activated form of TGF-beta is a known regulator of epithelial cell autonomous tumor initiation, progression, and metastasis. Recent studies have also indicated that TGF-beta mediates interactions between cancer cells and their local tumor microenvironment. Specifically, the loss of TGF-beta signaling in stromal components including fibroblasts and T-cells can result in an "activated" microenvironment that supports and even initiates transformation of adjacent epithelial cells. TGF-beta signaling in cancer can be regulated through mechanisms involving ligand activation and expression of essential components within the pathway including the receptors and downstream effectors. TGF-beta signaling in the tumor microenvironment significantly impacts carcinoma initiation, progression, and metastasis via epithelial cell autonomous and interdependent stromal-epithelial interactions in vivo.
    Journal of Cellular Biochemistry 08/2007; 101(4):851-61. · 3.06 Impact Factor
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    Brian Bierie, Harold L Moses
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    ABSTRACT: Transforming growth factor-beta (TGFbeta) signalling regulates cancer through mechanisms that function either within the tumour cell itself or through host-tumour cell interactions. Studies of tumour-cell-autonomous TGFbeta effects show clearly that TGFbeta signalling has a mechanistic role in tumour suppression and tumour promotion. In addition, factors in the tumour microenvironment, such as fibroblasts, immune cells and the extracellular matrix, influence the ability of TGFbeta to promote or suppress carcinoma progression and metastasis. The complex nature of TGFbeta signalling and crosstalk in the tumour microenvironment presents a unique challenge, and an opportunity to develop therapeutic intervention strategies for targeting cancer.
    Nature reviews. Cancer 08/2006; 6(7):506-20. · 35.00 Impact Factor
  • Brian Bierie, Harold L Moses
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    ABSTRACT: In this issue of Cell, Hill et al. (2005) demonstrate in a mouse model of prostate cancer that the tumor cells can initiate and promote expansion of stromal fibroblasts that lack the tumor-suppressor protein p53 through a paracrine mechanism. This results in selection of highly proliferative fibroblasts associated with the carcinoma that further promote tumor progression.
    Cell 01/2006; 123(6):985-7. · 31.96 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Growth and function of the mammary gland is regulated by cytokines and modulated by suppressor of cytokine signalling (SOCS) proteins. In vitro experiments demonstrated that SOCS3 can inhibit PRL induction of milk protein gene expression and STAT5 activation. We explored the SOCS3 expression pattern during mouse mammary development and its regulation by PRL and GH in wild-type and STAT5a-null mammary tissue. Our results suggest that, in vivo, PRL stimulates SOCS3 expression in stromal adipocytes, independently of STAT5a stimulation. In mammary epithelial cells, SOCS3 expression appears to be related to STAT3 activation. Together, our results are consistent with a role of SOCS3 in the mammary gland by promoting apoptosis of differentiated cells (adipocytes during gestation and epithelial cells during involution).
    Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 01/2006; 338(4):1696-701. · 2.28 Impact Factor
  • Brian Bierie, Harold L Moses
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    ABSTRACT: TGF-beta signaling regulates tumorigenesis and in human cancer its signaling pathways are often modified during tumor progression. Prior to initiation and early during progression TGF-beta acts upon the epithelium as a tumor suppressor, however at later stages it is often a tumor promoter. Over the years, many studies have focused on the epithelial cell autonomous role for TGF-beta, however, TGF-beta is not strictly limited to this compartment in vivo. Recent studies addressing TGF-beta mediated stromal-epithelial interactions have significantly improved our understanding related to the regulation of cancer. In addition, stromal fibroblast cell autonomous effects have been observed in response to TGF-beta stimulation. According to the current literature and experimental evidence, TGF-beta is a potent ligand that regulates carcinoma initiation, progression and metastasis through a broad and complex spectrum of interdependent interactions.
    Cytokine & Growth Factor Reviews 01/2006; 17(1-2):29-40. · 8.83 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The STAT3 transcription factor is an important initiator of mammary gland involution in the mouse. This work shows that the STAT3 target gene CCAAT/enhancer binding protein delta (C/EBPdelta) is a crucial mediator of pro-apoptotic gene expression events in mammary epithelial cells. In the absence of C/EBPdelta, involution is delayed, the pro-apoptotic genes encoding p53, BAK, IGFBP5 and SGP2/clusterin are not activated, while the anti-apoptotic genes coding for BFL1 and Cyclin D1 are not repressed. Consequently, p53 targets such as survivin, BRCA1, BRCA2 and BAX are not regulated appropriately and protease activation is delayed. Furthermore, expression of MMP3 and C/EBPdelta during the second phase of involution is perturbed in the absence of C/EBPdelta. In HC11 cells, C/EBPdelta alone is sufficient to induce IGFBP5 and SGP2. It also suppresses Cyclin D1 expression and cooperates with p53 to elicit apoptosis. This study places C/EBPdelta between STAT3 and several pro- and anti-apoptotic genes promoting the physiological cell death response in epithelial cells at the onset of mammary gland involution.
    Development 12/2005; 132(21):4675-85. · 6.21 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

2k Citations
248.27 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2010–2014
    • Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research
      Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
  • 2011
    • The University of Tokyo
      • Department of Internal Medicine
      Tokyo, Tokyo-to, Japan
  • 2005–2009
    • Vanderbilt University
      • Department of Cancer Biology
      Nashville, MI, United States
  • 2002–2006
    • National Institutes of Health
      • Laboratory of Genetics and Physiology (LGP)
      Bethesda, MD, United States
  • 2003
    • The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
      Maryland, United States