College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics
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Kay Lee-Fruman


Office: MLSC 224

Office Phone: 562-985-5262




Research interests:

Current research: The role of kinases S6K1 and S6K2 in signal transduction and immunity.

Our laboratory's main focus is cancer research, and we are interested in studying the function of S6K1 and S6K2, two proteins that belong to the same family. There are many proteins in cells whose role is to regulate cell growth and division, and when one or several of these proteins become abnormal due to mutations, cells can grow uncontrollably, which can lead to cancer. Therefore molecular process involved in controlling cell proliferation is an important topic of research. S6K1, the better-known member of the family, is one such protein that regulates cell growth. The function of S6K2, which was recently cloned, is unknown at this time. Our laboratory is therefore interested in learning more about the function of S6K2 in order to understand its role in cellular processes. We are also interested in investigating the role of S6K1 and S6K2 in the immune system; S6K1 may be especially important in white blood cell division, and therefore studying both S6K1 and S6K2 becomes crucial when studying cancers of white blood cells such as lymphomas and leukemias. Our laboratory uses many modern cellular and molecular techniques, and students in our laboratory learn mammalian cell culture, recombinant DNA techniques, in vitro kinase assays, FACS, SDS-PAGE, western blots, immunofluorescence, transfection, cell cycle analysis, and many other cell biology/biochemical techniques.  We are active in training undergraduate and graduate researcher in our laboratory, and many of our students have gone onto medical schools, Ph.D. programs, and biotechnology industries.  If interested in joining our laboratory, email  No prior research experience is necessary, you only need a lot of enthusiasm (although completion of BIOL 211 series and BIOL 340 is helpful.  No microbiology coursework necessary).