Honors & Awards


  • Joy Cappel Young Investigator Award ($3000; ~10% acceptance rate), Rockland Immunochemicals Inc. (2016)
  • Dissertation Fellowship ($20,000; ~25 awards/year), Graduate School-Rutgers (2016-2017)
  • Travel Award ($500; 45 global awards), American Society for Cell Biology meeting (2016)
  • Teaching and Graduate Assistant Professional Development Fund, Graduate School-Rutgers (2015-2016)

Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations


  • member, American Association of Cancer Research (2017 - Present)
  • member, American Society for Cell Biology (2015 - Present)

Professional Education


  • Bachelor of Arts, South China University Of Technology (2011)
  • Bachelor, South China University of Technology, China, Biological and Pharmaceutical Engineering (2011)
  • Doctor of Philosophy, Rutgers University (2017)

All Publications


  • BPM31510 exploits differential redox vulnerabilities between normal and glioblastoma cells to mediate its anti-cancer effect Sun, J., Nagpal, S., Patel, C., Merchant, M., Jang, T., Diers, A. R., Kazerounian, S., Gesta, S., Narain, N. R., Sarangarajan, R., Recht, L. AMER ASSOC CANCER RESEARCH. 2019
  • BPM 31510, a clinical stage metabolic modulator, demonstrates therapeutic efficacy in glioblastoma models of temozolomide chemosensitive and resistance by targeting mitochondrial function Dadali, T., Kulkarni, S., Ng, R., Awate, P., Mogre, S., Diers, A. R., Jang, T., Merchant, M., Sun, J., Gesta, S., Thapa, K., Nagpal, S., Recht, L., Narain, N. R., Sarangarajan, R. AMER ASSOC CANCER RESEARCH. 2018
  • Wntless-Sec12 complex on ER membrane regulates early Wnt secretory vesicle assembly and mature ligand export. Journal of cell science Sun, J., Yu, S., Zhang, X., Capac, C., Aligbe, O., Daudelin, T., Bonder, E. M., Gao, N. 2017

    Abstract

    Wntless (Wls) transports Wnt molecules for secretion; however, the cellular mechanism underlying the initial assembly of Wnt secretory vesicles is still not fully defined. Here, we performed proteomic and mutagenic analyses of mammalian Wls, and report a mechanism for formation of early Wnt secretory vesicles on ER membrane. Wls forms a complex with SEC12 (also known as PREB), an ER membrane-localized guanine nucleotide-exchange factor (GEF) activator of the SAR1 (the SAR1A isoform) small GTPase. Compared to palmitoylation-deficient Wnt molecules, binding of mature Wnt to Wls increases Wls-SEC12 interaction and promotes association of Wls with SAR1, the key activator of the COPII machinery. Incorporation of Wls into this exporting ER compartment is affected by Wnt ligand binding and SEC12 binding to Wls, as well as the structural integrity and, potentially, the folding of the cytosolic tail of Wls. In contrast, Wls-SEC12 binding is stable, with the interacting interface biochemically mapped to cytosolic segments of individual proteins. Mutant Wls that fails to communicate with the COPII machinery cannot effectively support Wnt secretion. These data suggest that formation of early Wnt secretory vesicles is carefully regulated to ensure proper export of functional ligands.

    View details for DOI 10.1242/jcs.200634

    View details for PubMedID 28515233

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5536887

  • CDC42 Inhibition Suppresses Progression of Incipient Intestinal Tumors CANCER RESEARCH Sakamori, R., Yu, S., Zhang, X., Hoffman, A., Sun, J., Das, S., Vedula, P., Li, G., Fu, J., Walker, F., Yang, C. S., Yi, Z., Hsu, W., Yu, D., Shen, L., Rodriguez, A. J., Taketo, M. M., Bonder, E. M., Verzi, M. P., Gao, N. 2014; 74 (19): 5480-5492

    Abstract

    Mutations in the APC or β-catenin genes are well-established initiators of colorectal cancer, yet modifiers that facilitate the survival and progression of nascent tumor cells are not well defined. Using genetic and pharmacologic approaches in mouse colorectal cancer and human colorectal cancer xenograft models, we show that incipient intestinal tumor cells activate CDC42, an APC-interacting small GTPase, as a crucial step in malignant progression. In the mouse, Cdc42 ablation attenuated the tumorigenicity of mutant intestinal cells carrying single APC or β-catenin mutations. Similarly, human colorectal cancer with relatively higher levels of CDC42 activity was particularly sensitive to CDC42 blockade. Mechanistic studies suggested that Cdc42 may be activated at different levels, including at the level of transcriptional activation of the stem cell-enriched Rho family exchange factor Arhgef4. Our results indicate that early-stage mutant intestinal epithelial cells must recruit the pleiotropic functions of Cdc42 for malignant progression, suggesting its relevance as a biomarker and therapeutic target for selective colorectal cancer intervention.

    View details for DOI 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-14-0267

    View details for Web of Science ID 000343118900014

    View details for PubMedID 25113996

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4184946

  • 396 Colorectal Cancer Cells Exploit the Pleiotropic Functions of Cell Division Cycle 42 for Immediate PRO-Survival Niche Construction Gastroenterology Sakamori, R., Yu, S., Sun, J., Zhang, X., Gao, N. 2014; 146 (5): 85
  • Breeding and identification of novel koji molds with high activity of acid protease by genome recombination between Aspergillus oryzae and Aspergillus niger JOURNAL OF INDUSTRIAL MICROBIOLOGY & BIOTECHNOLOGY Xu, D., Pan, L., Zhao, H., Zhao, M., Sun, J., Liu, D. 2011; 38 (9): 1255-1265

    Abstract

    Acid protease is essential for degradation of proteins during soy sauce fermentation. To breed more suitable koji molds with high activity of acid protease, interspecific genome recombination between A. oryzae and A. niger was performed. Through stabilization with d-camphor and haploidization with benomyl, several stable fusants with higher activity of acid protease were obtained, showing different degrees of improvement in acid protease activity compared with the parental strain A. oryzae. In addition, analyses of mycelial morphology, expression profiles of extracellular proteins, esterase isoenzyme profiles, and random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) were applied to identify the fusants through their phenotypic and genetic relationships. Morphology analysis of the mycelial shape of fusants indicated a phenotype intermediate between A. oryzae and A. niger. The profiles of extracellular proteins and esterase isoenzyme electrophoresis showed the occurrence of genome recombination during or after protoplast fusion. The dendrogram constructed from RAPD data revealed great heterogeneity, and genetic dissimilarity indices showed there were considerable differences between the fusants and their parental strains. This investigation suggests that genome recombination is a powerful tool for improvement of food-grade industrial strains. Furthermore, the presented strain improvement procedure will be applicable for widespread use for other industrial strains.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s10295-010-0904-5

    View details for Web of Science ID 000294225100014

    View details for PubMedID 21107641