Dr. Shibata’s research group is studying the biologic mechanisms of HPP1, which is epigenetically silenced in more than 80% of colorectal cancers. Methylated HPP1 plasma DNA is an independent biomarker of poor outcome in patients with colorectal cancer, and methylated HPP1 DNA has been found among a panel of genes detected in the stool samples. It may have potential to contribute to non-invasive screening modalities, but little known about its biologic mechanisms of action. Dr. Shibata and his laboratory have shown that HPP1’s tumor suppressive behavior is mediated via the activation of STAT1-related pathways. They also demonstrated that tumor suppression is mediated by concurrent activation of STAT2 and interferon alpha-like pathways. They noted that overexpression of HPP1 can restore interferon sensitivity to colon cancer cell lines. Dr. Shibata also is interested in applying gene expression profiling to the study of colorectal cancer pathobiology and outcomes. He is currently a co-principal investigator and co-project leader on a Florida Biomedical Research Grant SPORE Planning Grant “Molecular Signatures in Colon Cancer” in which he is correlating gene expression and microRNA profiles with response to treatment in primary and metastatic colon cancers. Additionally, he is interested in applying gene expression profiling to study specific subsets of colorectal cancer to identify potential markers that could be used for novel targeted therapies.