Excerpt from text on TED You Tube site:
Dr. Itkin-Ansari’s research is directed toward understanding diseases of the human pancreas. She has studied the signaling pathways controlling growth and differentiation in the pancreas in order to elucidate mechanisms leading to pancreatic pathogenesis. The lab is developing a cell-based therapy for diabetes that will not reqire immunosuppression. New research in the lab has also identified a signaling pathway controlling pancreatic cancer cell growth, which is yielding new potential targets for drug discovery for pancreatic cancer. Dr. Ikin-Ansari is interested in identifying the master regulators of growth control in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA). She found that the transcriptional repressor Id3 is profoundly upregulated in human PDA. To investigate whether Id3 might play an early role in aberrant pancreatic duct cell growth, she expressed the gene in primary human duct cells, which do not normally grow. Indeed, Id3 expression was sufficient to trigger cell cycle entry. Further, the lab demonstrated that Id3 is required for pancreatic cancer cell growth. Dr. Itkin-Ansari’s group is now studying Id3-interacting genes in order to identify optimal targets for drug discovery efforts for PDA.