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NCIRE-The Veterans Health Research Institute is the leading private nonprofit institute devoted to Veterans health research in the United States. Our mission is to advance Veterans health through research.

We support the work of some of the nation's foremost physicians and scientists at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center, the premier biomedical research facility in the VA system. All have faculty appointments at the University of California, San Francisco, which has its own proud traditions of research and patient care. We also partner with the U.S. Department of Defense to support health research on behalf of our men and women in the Armed Forces.

Those who have served in uniform have given their best for their country. In return, we believe that they deserve nothing less than the best health care research we can provide.

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Chris Lau, PhD

Research Career Scientist, Medical Service, SFVAHCS
Professor of Medicine, UCSF


Roles of the Y Chromosome Genes in Human Diseases and Cancers

Dr. Lau is an internationally recognized human molecular geneticist whose research focuses on the roles of the Y chromosome genes in human health and diseases, including testicular germ cell tumors (TGCTs), prostate cancer (PCa), and sexual dimorphisms in human neural disorders.  A variety of advanced molecular, genomic, and transgenic mouse technologies are utilized in his research.  His current efforts are centered on two specific genes on the Y chromosome: the testis-specific protein Y (TSPY) and sex determining region Y (SRY) genes. Dr. Lau and his associates demonstrated that TSPY is a putative oncogene (cancer gene) on this male-only chromosome. TSPY is widely expressed in gonadoblastoma, TGCTs and PCa.  It binds to key components of the protein synthetic and cell cycle regulatory machineries, thereby stimulating protein synthesis, cell proliferation and growth.  SRY is the sex-determining gene on the Y chromosome that switches on male sex differentiation during embryonic development.  Ectopic expression of SRY in fetal and adult tissues contributes to sexual dimorphisms in numerous biological systems, including neurodevelopment leading to sexual dimorphisms in cognitive functions and potentially disease processes and therapeutic responses in neurodegeneration and brain injuries between males and females.  Dr. Lau's research programs are designed to understand the molecular mechanisms of these Y chromosome genes in the pathogeneses of various human diseases, thereby providing insights for development of diagnostic biomarkers and personalized therapeutic strategies for them. 

To see Dr. Lau on Pub Med, click here.

To see Dr. Lau's laboratory site and learn more, click here.