Our Lab

Figure 1. Circos plots of somatic point mutations and copy number mutations identified in cutaneous T cell. lymphoma. Point mutations are indicated by black triangles; deletions, light blue boxes; amplifications, red boxes; translocations, royal blue lines; intrachromosomal rearrangements, green lines.


Our Team

We are an energetic team of scientists unified for our passion for curing cancer and having fun. Learn more about us here. 

Our lab has tremendous momentum. Since the opening of the lab in September, 2015, we have authored or co-authored 17 manuscripts! Learn more about recent publications from the lab.

In addition, our lab has been fortunate to receive a number of awards. Joonhee was awarded the Translational Bridge Science Award! Alex has received a prestigious grant for his research in the lab. Jae has been fortunate to receive a number of prestigious grants and awards including the Damon Runyon Clinical Investigator, the Doris Duke Clinical Scientist, the ASCI Young Physician Scientist Award, and the AAD Young Investigator of the Year Award.


Our Scientific Approach
We are a technology-based laboratory that utilizes cutting-edge genomics, genome wide genetic screens, and mouse models to identify novel therapeutic strategies to cure cancer. These strategies are designed to target the immunogenicity, the genetics, and the epigenetics of skin cancer.


Current Projects:

  1. Gene Discovery: We are using cutting edge next generation sequencing to identify the genetic basis of other inherited and acquired skin diseases and cancers.
  2. Molecular Mechanisms: We are using human and animal models to determine how mutations we have discovered affect disease pathogenesis.
  3. Clinical Translation: We are actively studying methods to translate our findings into clinically useful biomarkers and novel therapeutics.

Research Highlight:

Figure 2. Identification of RLTPR (p.Q575E) as a novel putative oncogenic mutation in T cell cancers. 

The team headlined by Dr. Joonhee Park has made dramatic improvements in our understanding of the genetic basis of cutaneous T cell lymphoma. By studying a larger cohort of 220 CTCLs, she has implicated 55 genes in CTCL pathogenesis, including 17 genes not previously implicated. Importantly, she has provided the first genetic and functional evidence that RLTPR is a T cell-specific oncogene. The mechanism is interesting and somewhat unexpected. Unlike other oncogenes, RLTPR has no known enzymatic domains. The p.Q575E alteration therefore appears to alter protein-protein interactions. p.Q575E enables preassembly of an important NF-kB signaling complex.  In the presence of concomitant T cell receptor signaling agonists, this complex increases TCR signaling flux over 30 fold. We believe these findings will deepen our mechanistic understanding of CTCL and therefore enable the rational development of novel therapeutic strategies.

Read more about Joonhee’s work here.

 


Come join our fight against cancer! We are looking for motivated, energetic postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, and bioinformaticians to join the Choi lab. We are actively recruiting students because we know that they can bring a great deal of energy, intelligence, and enthusiasm for science and medicine.

If you are interested, please contact us:

Jaehyuk Choi
Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
303 East Superior St.
Chicago, IL 60611
jaehyuk.choi@northwestern.edu.


“Cancer was not disorganized chromosomal chaos. It was organized chromosomal chaos.”
Siddhartha Mukherjee, The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer