Dinuka De Silva
Bachelor of Arts in the Biological Sciences from Rutgers university
Dissertation Project: Ack1 regulation of SLIRP mediated repression of Androgen Receptor Signaling
Before starting my PhD work at UNC, I worked for 2 years as a research technician at Columbia University. My projects focused on the role of Notch signaling in Angiogenesis in breast and ovarian cancer.
My dissertation mentor is Dr. Young Whang and my project focuses on the role of activated cdc-associated tyrosine kinase Ack1 on Androgen receptor (AR) signaling in Prostate Cancer. Tumor growth is initially androgen dependent and through activation of androgen receptor. We previously demonstrated that Ack1 promotes growth of prostate xenograft tumors in castrated animals by activation of AR through phosphorylation of the Tyr-267 site. SLIRP (SRA stem-loop interacting RNA binding protein) acts as a co-repressor of AR signaling. We confirmed that the interaction between AR and SLIRP is abrogated by Ack1 expression thereby enhancing AR transcriptional activity and promoting prostate cancer progression. My project focuses on characterizing the role of SLIRP in prostate cancer cell growth and AR transcription and elucidating the mechanism of Ack1 disruption of the AR-SLIRP complex by identifying binding partners of the SLIRP co-repressor complex.