Damon Runyon Researchers

Meet Our Scientists
Yunsik Kang, PhD

Dr. Kang aims to identify mechanisms that eliminate unneeded cells in the brain. During animal development, extra neurons and neuronal connections are produced, but these unneeded neurons are selectively “eaten” by glia (another type of cell in the brain) in a process called phagocytosis. He will use the nervous system of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster as a model system to perform rapid genetic screens and cell type-specific manipulations, allowing him to quickly find new mechanisms that regulate phagocytosis.  Understanding how cells are targeted for phagocytosis during development will help us learn how to harness these targeting mechanisms to eliminate cancer cells for therapeutic purposes. This research will also help to understand how cancer cells evade immune detection and clearance, and may aid in the development of new kinds of cancer treatments. 

Project title: "Molecular mechanisms regulating phagocytosis of neurons"
Institution: Oregon Health & Science University
Award Program: Fellow
Sponsor(s) / Mentor(s): Marc R. Freeman, PhD
Cancer Type: All Cancers
Research Area: Neuroscience