Headshot of Dr. Cuilan Gao

Dr. Cuilan Gao

CHATTANOOGA, TN (April 25, 2017) — Winners of the first UT CORNET Awards in Cancer Research for the University of Tennessee system, announced today, included Cuilan (Lani) Gao, PhD, Assistant Professor of Mathematics, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

Dr. Gao and her collaborating researcher Manish K. Tripathi, Assistant Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences at UT Health Science Center, had their project selected for funding along with two other projects. Dr. Gao and Mr. Tripathi’s research project is entitled The Role of lncRNA-NRON and NFAT in CRC Health Disparity. The project studies a divergent trend in mortality rates between African American and Caucasians with colorectal cancer over the last 40 years. The Gao-Tripathi team is looking at cellular and molecular mechanisms that dictate how the disease behaves and progresses in underserved populations.

Other projects selected for funding today were:

  • Real-time Autobioluminescent Imaging of NF-kB and Wnt Signaling Activities and Their Synergistic Co-activation in Cancer: Steven Ripp, Research Associate Professor at the Center for Environmental Biotechnology at UT Knoxville, and Zhaohui Wu, Assistant Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at UT Health Science Center. The team will develop light-emitting human cancer cell lines whose maturation toward tumor growth can be monitored in real time within live animal models using sensitive imaging cameras. The research will help scientists learn about cancer progression and screen new cancer-fighting drugs.
  • Dual Therapeutic Nanoplatform Delivery for Effective Breast Cancer Treatment: Hwa-Chain Robert Wang, Professor of Biomedical and Diagnostic Sciences at the UT Institute of Agriculture, and Murali M. Yallapu, Assistant Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences at UT Health Science Center. This project will help develop a treatment for triple negative breast cancer, a form of cancer that is highly aggressive and difficult to treat with traditional medicines. Wang and Yallapu will combine two USDA-approved medicines in a new nanoformulation that will specifically target the tumor cell and result in minimal side effects.

Media Relations Contacts: Email Shawn Ryan or call (423) 425-4363.