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WHO HE IS: Chief, Cell Death and Metabolism Research Center; Vincent F. Kilborn Jr. Cancer Research Scholar; associate professor of Oncologic Sciences
LATEST RESEARCH: Dr. Tan and his team investigate the mechanisms of cancer cell energy metabolism. Normal cells rely on a process that consumes oxygen to make the most of the energy supply. In contrast, cancer cells depend mostly on a sugar metabolism known as glycolysis. Cancer cells consume far more sugar than normal cells do in order to maintain a sufficient energy supply.
Recent studies have found that this unique property is an Achilles Heel for cancer cells. “By understanding the unique energy demands of cancer cells, we may be able to design drugs to target this weakness of cancer cells and spare normal cells,” said Dr. Tan. “Cancer metabolism has emerged as one of the most exciting areas of cancer research that may open a new therapeutic avenue and may bring new hope for cancer patients.”
RESEARCH INTERESTS: Metabolism and cancer, microRNA and cancer, cancer metastasis, therapeutic resistance and targeted cancer therapy.
WORK HISTORY: Dr. Tan joined MCI in 2007. He was an assistant professor at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center from 2006-07.
EDUCATION: Dr. Tan received his medical degree from West China University of Medical Sciences in Chengdu, China. He received his graduate education at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and Health Science Center in Houston, Texas. Dr. Tan completed his research fellowship at MD Anderson.
MORE ABOUT HIM: Dr. Tan is originally from China. His father, a medical doctor, wanted his son to follow in his footsteps. While Dr. Tan was completing his research rotation in medical school, he became fascinated by biomedical research. He later decided to pursue a Ph.D. in cancer biology to become a “molecular doctor” at MD Anderson. He moved to Mobile in March 2007.
Outside of work, Dr. Tan enjoys listening to audiobooks, especially detective novels. He also likes to garden with his wife and play table tennis with his two sons.
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