The recent development of CRISPR RNA-guided immune systems as a versatile programmable platform for genome editing and regulation has spurred a revolution in biology and medical research for treating human cancer diseases at the genetic level. By combining biochemical, integrative structural biology techniques (cryo‐electron microscopy and X-ray crystallography), the research in Jiang laboratory is focused on deciphering the molecular mechanisms of RNA-guided DNA targeting by CRISPR-Cas systems and further use this knowledge to engineer next-generation approaches for genome manipulation and precision medicine in cancer and autoimmune diseases. Jiang lab also involves understanding the molecular mechanism by which viral anti-CRISPR proteins inhibit CRISPR immunity. This research program is based on the notion that we can improve CRISPR-based cancer treatments by reducing any unwanted off-target effects through timed delivery of anti-CRISPR into human cells.
In addition to continuing to pioneer CRISPR mechanistic studies, Jiang lab is interested in studying the relationship of RNA editing and innate immunity in the pathogenesis of cancer from a structural and functional perspective. The long-term goal of Jiang lab is to uncover the mechanisms of chromatin deregulation by ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling machinery that leads to tumorigenesis and metastasis and ultimately, to develop therapeutic targeting of the ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling complex for cancer therapy through building a complete understanding of structural and functional roles of individual subunits. Chromatin-remodeling complexes play a fundamental role in gene expression and transcriptional regulation and are found frequently mutated in human cancers. Therefore, it is essential to understand the mechanism of action of these remodeling complexes at the structural level. Through this research program, Jiang lab aims to uncover new avenue for treating cancers driven by ATP-dependent chromatin remodeler perturbation and provide new opportunities for translational cancer research.