MEI YEE KOH portrait
  • Associate Professor, Pharmacology And Toxicology

Research Interests

All solid tumors and their metastases suffer from regions of oxygen deprivation, also known as hypoxia. This occurs as a result of the diffusion limitation of oxygen, and to the highly proliferative nature of cancer cells. Hypoxic tumors are intrinsically resistant to radiation and chemotherapy, and patients with these tumors are likely to have a poorer prognosis. My lab aims to determine how tumor hypoxia, and the hypoxia- inducible factors, HIF-1 and HIF-2, drive outcomes that promote cancer progression and resistance to therapy. These outcomes include ‘reprogramming’ of cancer cells to favor increased growth (such as through increased iron uptake), reversion to a multipotent stem-like (and more aggressive) phenotype, and increased metastasis. The hypoxic tumor microenvironment also alters the patient’s immune cells that are in proximity to the tumor, suppressing their ability to eliminate cancer cells. The overall goal of my lab is to identify new therapeutic strategies for cancer by targeting components of the tumor and the tumor microenvironment that drive cancer progression.

Tumor site-specific research programs are described at: