Andrew Duncan, PhD*
- Identification of the molecular and cellular players that regulate aneuploidy/polyploidy is ongoing. The cell cycle in most normal mammalian cells is tightly regulated, prohibiting expansion of polyploid and/or aneuploid cells. Experiments examine the extent of hepatocyte-specific cell cycle regulation. Additionally, multiple types of cells coordinate the overall degree of polyploidy/aneuploidy in the liver. Studies are underway to determine how diverse cell types (including stem and progenitor cells) contribute to genetic diversity.
- Current work investigates the function of aneuploid hepatocytes. Although aneuploidy in the liver is exceptionally high (>50% of hepatocytes), spontaneous liver cancer is very rare, suggesting that aneuploidy is not necessarily a predisposition for liver cancer. Recent data suggest that hepatic aneuploidy is actually beneficial, promoting adaptation to liver injury.
- It is unknown how polyploid and aneuploid hepatocytes affect human liver disease. Studies are underway to determine how these cells contribute to pathogenesis and/or regeneration in a variety of liver diseases, including hepatocellular carcinoma and alcohol liver disease.
Dr. Duncan is a core faculty member in the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, a member of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, and he holds a secondary appointment in the Department of Bioengineering.
Department of Pathology and McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine