Research Projects


Project 1 Gene Expression Profiling
Lola Lopez-Terrada, MD, PhD
The overall goals of this part of the study are to develop a genomic and expression based, diagnostic and therapeutic hepatoblastoma classification, as well as to identify potential therapeutic markers that could be made available for the effective treatment of patients with late-stage and chemoresistant hepatoblastomas.
Project 2 Deep Sequencing
Will Parsons, MD, PhD
The overall goal of this project is to utilize massively-parallel 'next-generation' DNA sequencing technologies to characterize the somatic genetic alterations occurring in this large cohort of clinically-annotated hepatoblastoma samples. These data will then be integrated with parallel profiling studies of RNA/microRNA expression (Project 1) and copy number alterations in order to allow an unprecedentedly-comprehensive molecular characterization of hepatoblastoma with clinical and histopathologic correlation. It is anticipated that the resulting view of the landscape of the hepatoblastoma tumor genome will facilitate improved molecular classification, risk assessment, and identification of novel molecular targets for diagnostics and therapeutics.
Project 3 Mouse Model
Sally Comerford, PhD
The overall goals of this project are to develop a mouse model of human hepatoblastoma, to better define the tumor-cell of origin, establish causative genetic defects and identify novel biomarkers to facilitate the diagnosis and identification of therapeutic targets for the treatment of hepatoblastoma. The proposal specifically addresses the growing association of aberrant wnt/B-catenin, notch and PI3K/Akt signaling with hepatoblastoma, using an approach that employs the use of mutant mice with conditional loss- or gain- of function mutations that incrementally increase wnt, notch or PI3K/Akt signaling in hepatoblasts of the developing liver.
Administrative Core
Gail Tomlinson, MD, PhD
This Core will monitor the overall progress made and adherance to the timeline.
Core 2 Pathology Cores A & B
Milton Finegold, MD & Dinesh Rakheja, MD
The overall objectives of the Morphology Core (Laboratory Core) is to provide expertise, equipment, and procedures relevant to liver cancer research, with specific reference to childhood liver tumors. The Core will make available its specialized laboratory facilities and expertise to researchers.
Core 3 Bioinformatics and Biostatistics
Yidong Chen, PhD & Brad Pollock, MPH, PhD
The goal of the Bioinformatics and Biostatistics Core is to support the bioinformatics and biostatistics functions of each project by applying existing and developing new bioinformatics and biostatistics tools and resources as needed for the projects and other cores.