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Xiling Shen

Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering
(919) 681-9184
Research Interest: 
Signal transduction
Research Summary: 
Using systems biology to study spatiotemporal controls of multicellular systems, and how their subversion lead to diseases.
Research Description: 

Living tissue maintains a balance of heterogeneous cell types, and subversion of this spatiotemporal regulation leads to diseases such as cancer. The multidisciplinary members in Dr. Xiling Shen’s lab are developing and integrating state-of-the-art engineering, computational, and biological techniques to study and manipulate tissue heterogeneity for therapeutic applications. Our goal is to observe these processes at unprecedented spatiotemporal resolution, understand their underlying control principles, and manipulate them with great precision.

Currently our research focuses on the gastrointestinal tract, including colorectal cancer, intestinal epithelium, and the enteric nervous system. We are also extending our techniques and approaches to take on the lung. We have published novel studies on various mechanisms including non-coding RNA, asymmetric cell division, the stem cell niche, metastasis, metabolic reprogramming, and inflammation. Our ongoing projects also include gut microbiota, gut-brain axis, epigenetic reprogramming, neuromodulation, and synthetic biology.

Our lab has been developing novel technology that enables the research community to ask new questions. We have demonstrated a chemokine-targeting technique to graft human cells into immunocompetent animal hosts without immune rejection. An integrated tracking device has also be designed for simultaneous optical and electrical recording of the enteric nervous system in live animal. Techniques like multiscale modeling, organoids, CRISPR/CAS9 genomic editing, and various sequencing/metabolomics analyses are routinely used by lab members.

Besides basic science, the lab is currently pursuing translational research and developing novel therapeutics against colorectal cancer, functional GI disorders, and tuberculosis.

A miR-34a-Numb Feedforward Loop Triggered by Inflammation Regulates Asymmetric Stem Cell Division in Intestine and Colon Cancer.
Bu P, Wang L, Chen KY, Srinivasan T, Murthy PK, Tung KL, Varanko AK, Chen HJ, Ai Y, King S, Lipkin SM, Shen X.
Cell Stem Cell. 2016. 18:189-202.

Simultaneous optical and electrical in vivo analysis of the enteric nervous system.
Rakhilin N, Barth B, Choi J, Muñoz NL, Kulkarni S, Jones JS, Small DM, Cheng YT, Cao Y, LaVinka C, Kan E, Dong X, Spencer M, Pasricha P, Nishimura N, Shen X.
Nat Commun. 2016. 7:11800.

A microRNA miR-34a-regulated bimodal switch targets Notch in colon cancer stem cells.
Bu P, Chen KY, Chen JH, Wang L, Walters J, Shin YJ, Goerger JP, Sun J, Witherspoon M, Rakhilin N, Li J, Yang H, Milsom J, Lee S, Zipfel W, Jin MM, Gümüş ZH, Lipkin SM, Shen X.
Cell Stem Cell. 2013. 12:602-15.

A long non-coding RNA targets microRNA miR-34a to regulate colon cancer stem cell asymmetric division.
Wang L, Bu P, Ai Y, Srinivasan T, Chen HJ, Xiang K, Lipkin SM, Shen X.
Elife. 2016. 5: .

Comprehensive models of human primary and metastatic colorectal tumors in immunodeficient and immunocompetent mice by chemokine targeting.
Chen HJ, Sun J, Huang Z, Hou H, Arcilla M, Rakhilin N, Joe DJ, Choi J, Gadamsetty P, Milsom J, Nandakumar G, Longman R, Zhou XK, Edwards R, Chen J, Chen KY, Bu P, Wang L, Xu Y, Munroe R, Abratte C, Miller AD, Gümüş ZH, Shuler M, Nishimura N, Edelmann W, Shen X, Lipkin SM.
Nat Biotechnol. 2015. 33:656-60.