Charles Kaufman, MD, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Internal Medicine
Developmental Biology

Developmental, Regenerative and Stem Cell Biology Program
Cancer Biology Program
Molecular Cell Biology Program
Molecular Genetics and Genomics Program

  • 314 273-1330


  • Understanding and modifying the mechanisms controlling the onset of melanoma cancer by integrating zebrafish models and human disease

Research Abstract:

My clinical and research interests focus on understanding and modifying the mechanisms controlling the onset of cancer, in particular melanoma. By combining a powerful and flexible zebrafish melanoma model with molecular discoveries from human melanoma, I aim to accomplish the following:

Profile the earliest transcriptional and epigenetic events that occur during melanoma initiation. We can uniquely accomplish this with the zebrafish model because we can see these first cancer cells earlier than previously possible.

Modify the epigenetic landscape in the pre-cancerous melanocytes and determine the outcome on melanoma formation. With the genetic tools available in the zebrafish, including gain- and loss-of-function approaches, we can modify both specific loci and broad aspects of the chromatin landscape in zebrafish to determine the effect on melanoma formation.

Identify chemicals (i.e. ideally therapeutic drugs) that prevent melanoma formation. The zebrafish is ideally suited to rapid and large-scale screens to identify such potential therapies which will then be used to direct studies in humans.

Develop diagnostic tools to detect the earliest changes in pre-cancerous melanocytes that signify conversion to cancer. Earlier detection may allow for earlier treatment and improved outcomes for patients.

Selected Publications:

Grigura V, Barbier M, Zarov AP, and Kaufman CK. Feeding amount significantly alters overt tumor onset rate in a zebrafish melanoma model. Biol Open. 2018 Jan 23; 7:bio030726.

Efficient transduction of zebrafish melanoma cell lines and embryos using lentiviral vectors
Fazio M, Avagyan S, van Rooijen E, Mannherz W, Kaufman CK, Lobbardi R, Langenau DM, Zon LI Zebrafish 2017 Aug;14(4):379-382

Tumor diversity and evolution revealed through RADseq
Perry EB, Makohon-Moore A, Zheng C, Kaufman CK, Cai J, Iacobuzio-Donahue CA, White RM Oncotarget 2017 Jun 27;8(26):41792-41805

Evolution of the hypoxia-sensitive cells involved in amniote respiratory reflexes
Hockman D, Burns AJ, Schlosser G, Gates KP, Jevans B, Mongera A, Fisher S, Unlu G, Knapik EW, Kaufman CK, Mosimann C, Zon LI, Lancman JJ, Dong PDS, Lickert H, Tucker AS, Baker CVH Elife 2017 Apr 7;6

A zebrafish melanoma model reveals emergence of neural crest identity during melanoma initiation
Kaufman CK, Mosimann C, Fan ZP, Yang S, Thomas AJ, Ablain J, Tan JL, Fogley RD, van Rooijen E, Hagedorn EJ, Ciarlo C, White RM, Matos DA, Puller AC, Santoriello C, Liao EC, Young RA, Zon LI Science 2016 Jan 29;351(6272):aad2197

A quantitative system for studying metastasis using transparent zebrafish
Heilmann S, Ratnakumar K, Langdon EM, Kansler ER, Kim IS, Campbell NR, Perry EB, McMahon AJ, Kaufman CK, van Rooijen E, Lee W, Iacobuzio-Donahue CA, Hynes RO, Zon LI, Xavier JB, White RM Cancer Res 2015 Oct 15;75(20):4272-82

Last Updated: 7/25/2018 8:16:31 AM

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