Jong-In Park

The goal of the Park lab is to identify fundamental molecular mechanisms that underlie the development/maintenance of medullary thyroid cancer (MTC).  Further, the lab aims to develop novel therapeutic strategies for effective treatment of MTC.  An important current effort in the Park lab is to evaluate the molecular chaperone, mortalin, as a potential therapeutic target for MTC and to elucidate its role particularly in mitochondria of the tumor.  This research is based upon the lab’s recent observation that mortalin is upregulated in MTC and can facilitate tumor cell survival and growth mainly by regulating mitochondrial bioenergetics in the tumor. Another important focus in the Park lab is to understand the molecular mechanisms that underlie the tumor suppressive signaling of Raf/MEK/ERK in MTC cells, particularly leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF)/JAK/STAT-mediated cell extrinsic mechanism.


1. Park , J.-I., Strock, C. J., Ball, D. W., Nelkin, B. D. (2003) The Ras/Raf/MEK/ERK Pathway Induces Autocrine/Paracrine Growth Inhibition via the Leukemia Inhibitory Factor/JAK/STAT Pathway. Molecular and Cellular Biology, 23 (2): 543-554 (PMID: 12509453). 

2. Sriuranpong, V., Park, J.-I., Amornphimoltham, P., Patel, V., Nelkin, B. D., Gutkind, J. S. (2003) Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor-independent Constitutive Activation of STAT3 in Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma Is Mediated by the Autocrine/Paracrine Stimulation of the Interleukin 6/gp130 Cytokine System. Cancer Research, 63 (11): 2948-2956 (PMID: 12782602).

3. Strock, C. J., Park, J.-I., Rosen, M., Dionne, C., Ruggeri, B., Jones-Bolin, S., Denmeade, S. R., Ball, D. W., Nelkin, B. D. (2003) CEP-701 and CEP-751 Inhibit Constitutively Activated RET Tyrosine Kinase Activity and Block Medullary Thyroid Carcinoma Cell Growth. Cancer Research, 63 (17): 5559-5563 (PMID: 14500395).

4. Park, J.-I., Powers, J. F., Tischler, A. S., Strock, C. J., Ball, D. W., Nelkin, B. D. (2005) GDNF-Induced Leukemia Inhibitory Factor Can Mediate Differentiation via the MEK/ERK Pathway in Pheochromocytoma Cells Derived from nf1 Knockout Mice Experimental Cell Research, 303 (1): 79-88 (PMID: 15572029).

5. Park, J.-I., Strock, C. J., Ball, D. W., Nelkin, B. D. (2005) Interleukin-1b Can Mediate Growth Arrest and Differentiation via the Leukemia Inhibitory Factor/JAK/STAT Pathway in Medullary Thyroid Carcinoma Cells. Cytokine, 29 (3): 125-134 (PMID: 15613280).

6. Kim, E.-J., Park, J.-I., Nelkin, B. D. (2005) IFI16 Is an Essential Mediator of Growth Inhibition, but not Differentiation, Induced by the Leukemia Inhibitory Factor/JAK/STAT Pathway in Medullary Thyroid Carcinoma Cells. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 280 (6): 4913-4920 (PMID: 15572361).

7. Strock, C. J., Park, J.-I., Rosen, D. M., Ruggeri, B., Denmeade, S. R., Ball, D. W., Nelkin, B. D. (2006) Activity of Irinotecan and the Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitor CEP-751 in Medullary Thyroid Cancer. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 91 (1): 79-84 (PMID: 16263812).

8. Hong, S., Yoon, S., Moelling, C., Arthan, D., Park, J.-I. (2009) Non-Catalytic Function of Extracellular Signal-Regulated Kinase ½ (ERK1/2) Can Promote Raf/MEK/ERK-Mediated Growth Arrest Signaling. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 284 (48): 33006-33018 (PMID: 19805545).

9. Arthan, D., Hong, S., Park, J.-I., (2010) Leukemia inhibitory factor can mediate Ras/Raf/MEK/ERK-induced growth inhibitory signaling in medullary thyroid cancer cells. Cancer Letters 297 (1): 31-41 (PMID: 20570039).

10. Starenki, D., Singh, N., Jensen, D., Peterson, F., Park, J.-I., (2013) Recombinant leukemia inhibitory factor suppresses human medullary thyroid carcinoma cell line xenografts in mice. Cancer Letters, 339 (1): 144-151 (PMID: 23856028; PMCID: PMC3771534).

11. Starenki, D., Park, J.-I., (2013) Mitochondria-targeted nitroxide, Mito-CP, suppresses medullary thyroid carcinoma cell survival in vitro and in vivo. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 98 (4):1529-1540 (PMID: 23509102; PMCID: PMC3615196) (

12. Wu, P.*, Hong, S.*, Veeranki, S., Karkhanis, M., Starenki, D., Plaza, J., Park, J.-I., (2013) A mortalin/HSPA9-mediated switch in tumor suppressive signaling of Raf/MEK/ERK. Molecular and Cellular Biology, 33 (20): 4051-4067 (PMID: 23959801). *equal contribution

13. Starenki, D., Hong, S., Lloyd, R., Park, J.-I. (2014) Mortalin (GRP75/HSPA9) upregulation promotes survival and proliferation of medullary thyroid carcinoma cells. Oncogene, doi: 10.1038/onc.2014.392. [Epub ahead of print] (PMID: 25435367)

14. Park, J.-I. (2014) Growth arrest signaling of Raf/MEK/ERK in cancer, Frontiers in Biology, 9 (2): 95-103 (PMID: 24999356; PMCID: PMC4079089)

15. Sosonkina, N., Starenki, D., Park, J.-I. (2014) The role of STAT3 in thyroid cancer, Cancers, 6 (1): 526-524 (PMID: 24662939; PMCID: PMC3980610)

16. Karkhanis, M., Park, J.-I. (2015) Sp1 regulates Raf/MEK/ERK-induced p21CIP1 transcription in TP53-mutated cancer cells. Cellular Signaling, 27 (3) 479-486 (PMID: 25595558; PMCID: PMC4333010)

17. Wu, P., Hong, S., Yoon, S., Park, J.-I. (2015) Active ERK2 is sufficient to mediate growth arrest and differentiation signaling. FEBS Journal, doi: 10.1111/febs.13197 [Epub ahead of print] (PMID: 25639353)