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Wook-Jin Chae, Ph.D.

Massey Cancer Center research program membership

Cancer Biology

Department affiliations

Assistant Professor, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, School of Medicine


PhD, Yonsei University, South Korea (2006)
MS, Yonsei University, South Korea (2001)

Research description

Cancer is termed as a "wound that does not heal." The Wnt pathway plays crucial roles in tissue repair and remodeling, followed by injury. The Wnt antagonist, Dickkopf1(DKK1), is highly elevated in multiple types of cancers, including lung, pancreas, and head and neck cancer. We focus on various roles of DKK1 in cancer. First, we focus on the pro-inflammatory part of DKK1. Macrophages and Natural Killer (NK) cells are target cells of interest. Second, we focus on the mechanism of extracellular matrix (ECM) protein synthesis regulation by the Wnt system. ECM proteins are essential components of tumor microenvironment formation. Third, we are interested in how the Wnt system regulates alveolar type 2 (AT2) cells in lung cancer and lung fibrosis. Finally, we are interested in how the Wnt pathway regulates vascular permeability for leukocyte infiltration. We will leverage our research findings to develop a novel cancer therapeutic approach.

Disease focus of research

Breast, Head & neck, Pancreatic, Respiratory/lung

Research keywords

Animal models,Cancer cell biology,Cancer therapy,Immunotherapy,Inflammation,Molecular medicine,Senescence,Tumor microenvironment

Published research (during tenure as a Massey Cancer Center member)

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Contact information


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