Michael Kahn

University of California, Los Angeles, Los Ángeles, California, United States

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Publications (112)468.06 Total impact

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    Tomoyo Sasaki, Michael Kahn
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    ABSTRACT: Wnt/β-catenin signaling has been suggested to regulate proximal-distal determination of embryonic lung epithelium based upon genetically modified mouse models. The previously identified and characterized small molecule inhibitor IQ1 can pharmacologically decrease the interaction between β-catenin and its transcriptional coactivator p300, thereby enhancing the β-catenin/CBP interaction. Inhibition of the β-catenin/p300 interaction by IQ1 blocks the differentiation of embryonic stem cells and epicardial progenitor cells; however, whether differential coactivator usage by β-catenin plays a role in proximal-distal determination of lung epithelium is unknown. We examined the effects of inhibiting the β-catenin/p300 interaction with IQ1 on lung branching morphogenesis in mouse embryos in utero and mouse embryonic lung organ culture ex vivo. The phenotype of IQ1 treated lungs was analyzed by epithelial staining, histology, quantitative PCR and in situ hybridization. Inhibition of the β-catenin/p300 interaction by IQ1 disrupted the distal branching of mouse lung epithelium both in utero and ex vivo. IQ1 proximalized lung epithelium with decreased expression of the genes Bmp4 and Fgf10, hallmarks of distal lung determination, and increased expression of the proximal genes Sox2 and Scgb1a1 (CC10) as shown by quantitative PCR and in situ hybridization. The disruption of branching was reversible ex vivo as branching was reinitiated after removal of IQ1 from the media. The results demonstrate that the β-catenin/p300 interaction plays a critical role in proximal-distal determination of the epithelium in mouse lung branching morphogenesis and β-catenin/p300 inhibition pharmacologically proximalizes lung epithelium.
    12/2014; 2(1):8. DOI:10.1186/s40247-014-0008-1
  • Michael Kahn
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    ABSTRACT: WNT-β-catenin signalling is involved in a multitude of developmental processes and the maintenance of adult tissue homeostasis by regulating cell proliferation, differentiation, migration, genetic stability and apoptosis, as well as by maintaining adult stem cells in a pluripotent state. Not surprisingly, aberrant regulation of this pathway is therefore associated with a variety of diseases, including cancer, fibrosis and neurodegeneration. Despite this knowledge, therapeutic agents specifically targeting the WNT pathway have only recently entered clinical trials and none has yet been approved. This Review examines the problems and potential solutions to this vexing situation and attempts to bring them into perspective.
    dressNature Reviews Drug Discovery 07/2014; 13(7):513-32. DOI:10.1038/nrd4233 · 37.23 Impact Factor
  • Heinz‐Josef Lenz, Michael Kahn
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    ABSTRACT: Throughout our life, long lived somatic stem cells (SSCs) regenerate adult tissues both during homeostatic processes and repair after injury. The role of aberrant regulation of SSC has also recently gained prominence in the field of cancer research. Following malignant transformation, so termed cancer stem cells (CSCs), endowed with the same properties as SSCs (i.e. the ability to both self-renew as well as generate differentiated progenitors) play a major part in tumor initiation, therapy resistance and ultimately relapse. The same signaling pathways involved in regulating SSC maintenance are also involved in the regulation of CSCs. CSCs have been demonstrated to exist in a wide array of tumor types including leukemias, brain, breast, prostate, colon etc.. Consequently, one of the key goals in cancer research over the past decade has been to develop therapeutic strategies to safely eliminate the CSC population without damaging the endogenous SSC population. A major hurdle to this goal lies in the identification of the key mechanisms that distinguish CSCs from the normal endogenous tissue stem cells. This review will discuss the discovery and of the specific CBP/catenin antagonist ICG-001 and the ongoing clinical development of the second generation CBP/catenin antagonist PRI-724. Importantly, specific CBP/catenin antagonists appear to have the ability to safely eliminate CSCs by taking advantage of an intrinsic differential preference in the way SSCs and CSCs divide.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Cancer Science 06/2014; 105(9). DOI:10.1111/cas.12471 · 3.53 Impact Factor
  • Alexander Ring, Yong-Mi Kim, Michael Kahn
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    ABSTRACT: Wnt signaling plays an important role in development and disease. In this review we focus on the role of the canonical Wnt signaling pathway in somatic stem cell biology and its critical role in tissue homeostasis. We present current knowledge how Wnt/β-catenin signaling affects tissue stem cell behavior in various organ systems, including the gut, mammary gland, the hematopoietic and nervous system. We discuss evidence that canonical Wnt signaling can both maintain potency and an undifferentiated state as well as cause differentiation in somatic stem cells, depending on the cellular and environmental context. Based on studies by our lab and others, we will attempt to explain the dichotomous behavior of this signaling pathway in determining cell fate decisions and put special emphasis on the interaction of β-catenin with two highly homologous co-activator proteins, CBP and p300, to shed light on the their differential role in the outcome of Wnt/β-catenin signaling. Furthermore, we review current knowledge regarding the aberrant regulation of Wnt/β-catenin signaling in cancer biology, particularly its pivotal role in the context of cancer stem cells. Finally, we discuss data demonstrating that small molecule modulators of the β-catenin/co-activator interaction can be used to shift the balance between undifferentiated proliferation and differentiation, which potentially presents a promising therapeutic approach to stem cell based disease mechanisms.
    Stem cell reviews 05/2014; 10(4). DOI:10.1007/s12015-014-9515-2 · 3.21 Impact Factor
  • Michael Kahn, Yong-mi Kim
    01/2014; DOI:10.2147/RRBC.S53823
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    ABSTRACT: Cancer initiation and progression have been attributed to newly-discovered subpopulations of self-renewing, highly tumorigenic, drug-resistant tumor cells termed cancer stem cells. Recently, we and others reported a new phenotypic plasticity wherein highly tumorigenic, drug-resistant cell populations could arise not only from pre-existing cancer stem-like populations but also from cancer cells lacking these properties. In the current study, we hypothesized that this newfound phenotypic plasticity may be mediated by PI3K/Akt and Wnt/β-catenin signaling, pathways previously implicated in carcinogenesis, pluripotency and drug resistance. Using GFP expression, Hoechst dye exclusion, and fluorescence activated cell sorting (FACS) of cancer cell lines, we identified and tracked cancer stem-like side populations (SP) of cancer cells characterized by high tumorigenicity and drug resistance. We found that pharmacological inhibition or genetic depletion of PI3K and AKT markedly reduced the spontaneous conversion of non-side population (NSP) cells into cancer stem-like SP cells, whereas PI3K/Akt activation conversely enhanced NSP to SP conversion. PI3K/AKT signaling was mediated through downstream phosphorylation of GSK3β, which led to activation and accumulation of β-catenin. Accordingly, pharmacological or genetic perturbation of GSK3β or β-catenin dramatically impacted conversion of NSP to SP. Further downstream, β-catenin's effects on NSP-SP equilibrium were dependent upon its interaction with CBP, a KAT3 family coactivator. These studies provide a mechanistic model wherein PI3K/Akt/β-catenin/CBP signaling mediates phenotypic plasticity in and out of a drug-resistant, highly tumorigenic state. Therefore, targeting this pathway has unique potential for overcoming the therapy resistance and disease progression attributed to the cancer stem-like phenotype. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    International Journal of Cancer 01/2014; 134(1). DOI:10.1002/ijc.28341 · 5.01 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The adult mammalian heart has limited capability for self-repair after myocardial infarction. Therefore, therapeutic strategies that improve post-infarct cardiac function are critically needed. The small molecule ICG-001 modulates Wnt signaling and increased the expression of genes beneficial for cardiac regeneration in epicardial cells. Lineage tracing experiments, demonstrated the importance of β-catenin/p300 mediated transcription for epicardial progenitor contribution to the myocardium. Female rats given ICG-001 for 10 days post-occlusion significantly improved ejection fraction by 8.4%, compared to controls (P<0.05). Taken together, Wnt modulation via β-catenin/CBP inhibition offers a promising therapeutic strategy towards restoration of myocardial tissues and an enhancement of cardiac functions following infarction.
    PLoS ONE 09/2013; 8(9):e75010. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0075010 · 3.53 Impact Factor
  • Cancer Research 08/2013; 73(8 Supplement):4014-4014. DOI:10.1158/1538-7445.AM2013-4014 · 9.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Wnt/β-catenin signaling has a central role in the development and progression of most colon cancers (CCs). Germline variants in Wnt/β-catenin pathway genes may result in altered gene function and/or activity, thereby causing inter-individual differences in relation to tumor recurrence capacity and chemoresistance. We investigated germline polymorphisms in a comprehensive panel of Wnt/β-catenin pathway genes to predict time to tumor recurrence (TTR) in patients with stage III and high-risk stage II CC. A total of 234 patients treated with 5-fluorouracil-based chemotherapy were included in this study. Whole-blood samples were analyzed for putative functional germline polymorphisms in SFRP3, SFRP4, DKK2, DKK3, Axin2, APC, TCF7L2, WNT5B, CXXC4, NOTCH2 and GLI1 genes by PCR-based restriction fragment-length polymorphism or direct DNA sequencing. Polymorphisms with statistical significance were validated in an independent study cohort. The minor allele of WNT5B rs2010851 T>G was significantly associated with a shorter TTR (10.7 vs 4.9 years; hazard ratio: 2.48; 95% CI, 0.96-6.38; P=0.04) in high-risk stage II CC patients. This result remained significant in multivariate Cox's regression analysis. This study shows that the WNT5B germline variant rs2010851 was significantly identified as a stage-dependent prognostic marker for CC patients after 5-fluorouracil-based adjuvant therapy.The Pharmacogenomics Journal advance online publication, 2 July 2013; doi:10.1038/tpj.2013.20.
    The Pharmacogenomics Journal 07/2013; DOI:10.1038/tpj.2013.20 · 5.51 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Drug resistance in acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) remains a major problem warranting new treatment strategies. Wnt/catenin signaling is critical for the self-renewal of normal hematopoietic progenitor cells. Deregulated Wnt signaling is evident in chronic and acute myeloid leukemia; however, little is known about ALL. Differential interaction of catenin with either the Kat3 coactivator CREBBP (CREB-binding protein (CBP)) or the highly homologous EP300 (p300) is critical to determine divergent cellular responses and provides a rationale for the regulation of both proliferation and differentiation by the Wnt signaling pathway. Usage of the coactivator CBP by catenin leads to transcriptional activation of cassettes of genes that are involved in maintenance of progenitor cell self-renewal. However, the use of the coactivator p300 leads to activation of genes involved in the initiation of differentiation. ICG-001 is a novel small-molecule modulator of Wnt/catenin signaling, which specifically binds to the N-terminus of CBP and not p300, within amino acids 1-110, thereby disrupting the interaction between CBP and catenin. Here, we report that selective disruption of the CBP/β- and γ-catenin interactions using ICG-001 leads to differentiation of pre-B ALL cells and loss of self-renewal capacity. Survivin, an inhibitor-of-apoptosis protein, was also downregulated in primary ALL after treatment with ICG-001. Using chromatin immunoprecipitation assay, we demonstrate occupancy of the survivin promoter by CBP that is decreased by ICG-001 in primary ALL. CBP mutations have been recently identified in a significant percentage of ALL patients, however, almost all of the identified mutations reported occur C-terminal to the binding site for ICG-001. Importantly, ICG-001, regardless of CBP mutational status and chromosomal aberration, leads to eradication of drug-resistant primary leukemia in combination with conventional therapy in vitro and significantly prolongs the survival of NOD/SCID mice engrafted with primary ALL. Therefore, specifically inhibiting CBP/catenin transcription represents a novel approach to overcome relapse in ALL.Oncogene advance online publication, 3 June 2013; doi:10.1038/onc.2013.169.
    Oncogene 06/2013; 33(17). DOI:10.1038/onc.2013.169 · 8.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: While allergies are very common, affecting ∼40% of the population in most Western countries, only a proportion of allergic people develop asthma. This highlights the importance of tissue and cell specific mechanisms that contribute to the disease. As the interface between the inhaled environment and the internal environment of the lung, the epithelium normally possesses numerous mechanisms to maintain an effective protective barrier. However, the inability of the airway epithelium of asthmatics to effectively defend the lung against normally innocuous inhaled agents strongly suggests that asthma must involve defects in the epithelial barrier rather than being primarily an allergic disease. Evidence is accumulating that in asthma, the epithelium does not go through normal stages of development and differentiation and as a consequence, remain somewhat "immature". This in turn leads to a chronic cycle of dysregulated damage and repair which ultimately impacts on the airways function by increasing inflammation, but also by initiating processes that ultimately lead to changes to the structure and function of the airway.
    Pulmonary Pharmacology &amp Therapeutics 09/2012; 25(6). DOI:10.1016/j.pupt.2012.09.004 · 2.57 Impact Factor
  • Cancer Research 06/2012; 72(8 Supplement):3320-3320. DOI:10.1158/1538-7445.AM2012-3320 · 9.28 Impact Factor
  • American Thoracic Society 2012 International Conference, May 18-23, 2012 • San Francisco, California; 05/2012
  • American Thoracic Society 2012 International Conference, May 18-23, 2012 • San Francisco, California; 05/2012
  • American Thoracic Society 2012 International Conference, May 18-23, 2012 • San Francisco, California; 05/2012
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    ABSTRACT: Our aim was to differentiate human (h) embryonic stem (ES) cells into lung epithelial lineage-specific cells [i.e., alveolar epithelial type I (AEI) and type II (AEII) cells and Clara cells] as the first step in the development of cell-based strategies to repair lung injury in the bleomycin mouse model of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). A heterogeneous population of non-ciliated lung lineage-specific cells was derived by a novel method of embryoid body (EB) differentiation. This differentiated human cell population was used to modulate the profibrotic phenotype in transplanted animals. Omission or inclusion of one or more components in the differentiation medium skewed differentiation of H7 hES cells into varying proportions of AEI, AEII, and Clara cells. ICG-001, a small molecule inhibitor of Wnt/β-catenin/Creb-binding protein (CBP) transcription, changed marker expression of the differentiated ES cells from an AEII-like phenotype to a predominantly AEI-like phenotype. The differentiated cells were used in xenograft transplantation studies in bleomycin-treated Rag2γC(-/-) mice. Human cells were detected in lungs of the transplanted groups receiving differentiated ES cells treated with or without ICG-001. The increased lung collagen content found in bleomycin-treated mice receiving saline was significantly reduced by transplantation with the lung-lineage specific epithelial cells differentiated from ES cells. A significant increase in progenitor number was observed in the airways of bleomycin-treated mice after transplantation of differentiated hES cells. This study indicates that ES cell-based therapy may be a powerful novel approach to ameliorate lung fibrosis.
    PLoS ONE 03/2012; 7(3):e33165. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0033165 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Interactions between transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) and Wnt are crucial to many biological processes, although specific targets, rationale for divergent outcomes (differentiation versus block of epithelial proliferation versus epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT)) and precise mechanisms in many cases remain unknown. We investigated β-catenin-dependent and transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) interactions in pulmonary alveolar epithelial cells (AEC) in the context of EMT and pulmonary fibrosis. We previously demonstrated that ICG-001, a small molecule specific inhibitor of the β-catenin/CBP (but not β-catenin/p300) interaction, ameliorates and reverses pulmonary fibrosis and inhibits TGF-β1-mediated α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) and collagen induction in AEC. We now demonstrate that TGF-β1 induces LEF/TCF TOPFLASH reporter activation and nuclear β-catenin accumulation, while LiCl augments TGF-β-induced α-SMA expression, further confirming co-operation between β-catenin- and TGF-β-dependent signaling pathways. Inhibition and knockdown of Smad3, knockdown of β-catenin and overexpression of ICAT abrogated effects of TGF-β1 on α-SMA transcription/expression, indicating a requirement for β-catenin in these Smad3-dependent effects. Following TGF-β treatment, co-immunoprecipitation demonstrated direct interaction between endogenous Smad3 and β-catenin, while chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP)-re-ChIP identified spatial and temporal regulation of α-SMA via complex formation among Smad3, β-catenin, and CBP. ICG-001 inhibited α-SMA expression/transcription in response to TGF-β as well as α-SMA promoter occupancy by β-catenin and CBP, demonstrating a previously unknown requisite TGF-β1/β-catenin/CBP-mediated pro-EMT signaling pathway. Clinical relevance was shown by β-catenin/Smad3 co-localization and CBP expression in AEC of IPF patients. These findings suggest a new therapeutic approach to pulmonary fibrosis by specifically uncoupling CBP/catenin-dependent signaling downstream of TGF-β.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 03/2012; 287(10):7026-38. DOI:10.1074/jbc.M111.276311 · 4.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Recent studies suggest CD133, a surface protein widely used for isolation of colon cancer stem cells, to be associated with tumor angiogenesis and recurrence. We hypothesized that gene expression levels and germline variations in CD133 will predict clinical outcome in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC), treated in first-line setting with 5-fluorouracil, oxaliplatin and bevacizumab (BV), and we investigated whether there is a correlation with gene expression levels of CD133, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and its receptors. We evaluated intra-tumoral gene expression levels by quantitative real-time (RT) PCR from 54 patients and three germline variants of the CD133 gene by PCR-restriction-fragment length polymorphism from 91 patients with genomic DNA. High gene expression levels of CD133 (>7.76) conferred a significantly greater tumor response (RR=86%) than patients with low expression levels (7.76, RR=38%, adjusted P=0.003), independent of VEGF or its receptor gene expression levels. Gene expression levels of CD133 were significantly associated with VEGF and its receptors messenger RNA levels (VEGFR-1 (P<0.01), -2 and -3, P<0.05). Combined analyses of two polymorphisms showed a significant association with progression-free survival (PFS) (18.5 months vs 9.8 months, P=0.004) in a multivariate analysis as an independent prognostic factor for PFS (adjusted P=0.002). These results suggest that CD133 is a predictive marker for standard first-line BV-based treatment in mCRC.The Pharmacogenomics Journal advance online publication, 10 January 2012; doi:10.1038/tpj.2011.61.
    The Pharmacogenomics Journal 01/2012; DOI:10.1038/tpj.2011.61 · 5.51 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: An optimal culture system for human pluripotent stem cells should be fully defined and free of animal components. To date, most xeno-free culture systems require human feeder cells and/or highly complicated culture media that contain activators of the fibroblast growth factor (FGF) and transforming growth factor-β (TGFβ) signaling pathways, and none provide for replacement of FGF/TGFβ ligands with chemical compounds. The Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway plays an important role in mouse embryonic stem cells in leukemia inhibitory factor-independent culture; however, the role of Wnt/β-catenin signaling in human pluripotent stem cell is still poorly understood and controversial because of the dual role of Wnts in proliferation and differentiation. Building on our previous investigations of small molecules modulating Wnt/β-catenin signaling in mouse embryonic stem cells, we identified a compound, ID-8, that could support Wnt-induced human embryonic stem cell proliferation and survival without differentiation. Dual-specificity tyrosine phosphorylation-regulated kinase (DYRK) is the target of the small molecule ID-8. Its role in human pluripotent cell renewal was confirmed by DYRK knockdown in human embryonic stem cells. Using Wnt and the DYRK inhibitor ID-8, we have developed a novel and simple chemically defined xeno-free culture system that allows for long-term expansion of human pluripotent stem cells without FGF or TGFβ activation. These culture conditions do not include xenobiotic supplements, serum, serum replacement, or albumin. Using this culture system, we have shown that several human pluripotent cell lines maintained pluripotency (>20 passages) and a normal karyotype and still retained the ability to differentiate into derivatives of all three germ layers. This Wnt-dependent culture system should provide a platform for complete replacement of growth factors with chemical compounds.
    STEM CELLS TRANSLATIONAL MEDICINE 01/2012; 1(1):18-28. DOI:10.5966/sctm.2011-0033 · 3.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In contrast to its role in breast cancer (BCa) initiation, estrogen signaling has a protective effect in later stages, where estrogen receptor (ER)α loss associates with aggressive metastatic disease. We asked whether the beneficial effect of estrogen signaling in late-stage BCa is attributable to the recently reported estrogen-mediated antagonism of the pro-metastatic transcription factor Runx2. MCF7/Rx2dox breast cancer cells were engineered with a lentivirus expressing Runx2 in response to doxycycline (dox). Cells treated with dox and/or estradiol (E2) were subjected to genome-wide expression profiling, RT-qPCR analysis of specific genes, and Matrigel™ invasion assays. Knockdown of genes of interest was performed using lentiviruses expressing appropriate shRNAs, either constitutively or in response to dox. Gene expression in BCa tumors was investigated using a cohort of 557 patients compiled from publicly available datasets. Association of gene expression with clinical metastasis was assessed by dichotomizing patients into those expressing genes of interest at either high or low levels, and comparing the respective Kaplan-Meier curves of metastasis-free survival. Runx2 induced epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) evidenced by acquisition of a fibroblastic morphology, decreased expression of E-cadherin, increased expression of vimentin and invasiveness. Runx2 stimulated SNAI2 expression in a WNT- and transforming growth factor (TGF)β-dependent manner, and knockdown of SNAI2 abrogated the pro-metastatic activities of Runx2. E2 antagonized the pro-metastatic activities of Runx2, including SNAI2 upregulation. In primary BCa tumors, Runx2 activity, SNAI2 expression, and metastasis were positively correlated, and SNAI2 expression was negatively correlated with ERα. However, the negative correlation between SNAI2 and ERα in bone-seeking BCa cells was weaker than the respective negative correlation in tumors seeking lung. Furthermore, the absence of ERα in primary tumors was associated with lung- and brain- but not with bone metastasis, and tumor biopsies from bone metastatic sites displayed the unusual combination of high Runx2/SNAI2 and high ERα expression. E2 antagonizes Runx2-induced EMT and invasiveness of BCa cells, partly through attenuating expression of SNAI2, a Runx2 target required for mediating its pro-metastatic property. That ERα loss promotes non-osseous metastasis by unleashing Runx2/SNAI2 is supported by the negative correlation observed in corresponding tumors. Unknown mechanisms in bone-seeking BCa allow high Runx2/SNAI2 expression despite high ERα level.
    Breast cancer research: BCR 12/2011; 13(6):R127. DOI:10.1186/bcr3073 · 5.88 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

3k Citations
468.06 Total Impact Points


  • 2009–2014
    • University of California, Los Angeles
      Los Ángeles, California, United States
  • 2008–2014
    • University of Southern California
      • • Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
      • • Keck School of Medicine
      Los Angeles, California, United States
  • 2013
    • Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau
      Barcino, Catalonia, Spain
  • 2012
    • California Stem Cell
      Irvine, California, United States
  • 2010
    • Tokyo Institute of Technology
      • Department of Applied Chemistry
      Edo, Tōkyō, Japan
  • 1993–2010
    • University of Washington Seattle
      • • Department of Pathology
      • • Department of Medicine
      Seattle, Washington, United States
    • Michigan State University
      • Department of Chemistry
      East Lansing, MI, United States
  • 1987–2009
    • University of Illinois at Chicago
      • Department of Chemistry
      Chicago, IL, United States
  • 2003–2004
    • Pacific Northwest Diabetes Research Institute
      Seattle, Washington, United States
  • 1990
    • University of Chicago
      • Department of Chemistry
      Chicago, Illinois, United States