Alexander D. Boiko

picture of Alexander D. Boiko

Assistant Professor, Molecular Biology and Biochemistry
School of Biological Sciences

B.S., University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago IL, 1997, Biology
Ph.D., University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Medicine, Department of Molecular Genetics, Chicago IL, 2005, Molecular and Cancer Biology

Phone: (949) 824-9953

University of California, Irvine
Stem Cell Research Center
Sue & Bill Gross Hall; a CIRM Institute
845 Health Sciences Road
Mail Code: 3900
Irvine, CA 92697
Research Interests
Tumor Initiating Cells, Melanoma Immunotherapy, Tumor Evolution and Heterogeneity, Signal transduction in normal and cancer stem cell development.
Postdoctoral Scholar, Laboratory of Irving Weissman, Stanford University, Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine
Research Abstract
Research in Lay Terms

Our Lab is interested in understanding cellular and molecular origins of human melanoma initiation and progression. In addition, we are studying mechanisms of the immune evasion by melanoma cells, underlying their aggressive metastatic properties. Using this knowledge we aim to design targeted therapeutic approaches against this devastating disease.

Another major focus of the lab is to study tumor heterogeneity and branched evolution using RNA-Seq and Onco-Exome Capture Seq approaches of human clinical tumor samples. In addition, we are utilizing transgenic mouse models of cell lineage tracing to understand clonality and heterogeneity of skin tumors in response to UV exposure.

Research Focus

Dr. Boiko’s Lab focuses on discovering key molecular differences between tumor initiating and differentiated cell populations using human surgical melanoma samples. In addition, they are studying involvement of the immune system in control of disease progression and how to mediate its components to design more efficient therapeutic regimens.

Detail on Research

The goal of our research is to identify molecular factors and cell lineages of neural crest origin that contribute to melanoma initiation. We are using gene expression analysis to pinpoint signaling networks that are circumvented during normal development or regeneration of melanocytic lineages and result in malignant melanoma transformation. Using RNA inhibition and cDNA overexpression approaches we modulate expression of the candidate genes in target cell populations that are then assayed for their tumorigenic properties in-vitro and in-vivo. To better understand tumor clonality and heterogeneity we are using RNA-Seq and Onco-Exome Capture Seq approaches of human clinical melanoma samples to look at the mutation profiles of matched primary and metastatic lesions. In addition, we are utilizing transgenic mouse models of cell lineage tracing to understand clonality and heterogeneity of skin tumors in response to UV/DMABA exposure.

Second major direction of Dr. Boiko lab is to understand the role of macrophages and the immune system in melanoma parthenogenesis and how to translate this knowledge into more potent anti-cancer therapies. Currently we are developing genetic tools and antibodies that modulate macrophage activity and testing their effects in-vivo in the mouse xenotransplantation model of human metastatic disease.
Filipp FV,. Li C., Boiko AD. “CD271 is a molecular switch with divergent roles in melanoma and melanocyte development”. Scientific Reports, 2019, May 22. 10.1038/s41598-019-42773-y
Li C, Nguyen V, Clark KN, Zahed T, Sharkas S, Filipp FV, Boiko AD
Down-regulation of FZD3 receptor suppresses growth and metastasis of human melanoma independently of canonical WNT signaling.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2019 Feb 21. PMID: 30792348
Ngo M, Han A, Lakatos A, Debashis S, Hachey SJ, Weiskopf K, Beck A, Weissman IL, Boiko AD. Antibody Therapy Targeting CD47 and CD271 Effectively Suppresses Melanoma Metastasis. Cell Reports, 2016, Jul 28, doi:10.1016/j.celrep.2016.07.004
Hachey SJ, Boiko AD.
Therapeutic Implications of Melanoma Heterogeneity.
Exp Dermatol. 2016 Apr 8. [Epub ahead of print]
Dimov IK, Boiko AD.
Profiling Melanoma Heterogeneity Using Microwell RNA Cytometry.
Methods Mol Biol. 2016 Apr 16. [Epub ahead of print]
Boiko AD
Isolation of Melanoma Tumor Initiating Cells from Surgical Tissues
Methods Mol Biol. 2013;961:253-9.
Razorenova OV, Finger EC, Colavitti R, Chernikova SB, Boiko AD, Chan CK, Krieg A, Bedogni B, LaGory E, Weissman IL, Broome-Powell M, Giaccia AJ.
VHL loss in renal cell carcinoma leads to up-regulation of CUB domain-containing protein 1 to stimulate PKC{delta}-driven migration.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Feb 1;108(5):1931-6.
Boiko AD, Razorenova OV, van de Rijn M, Swetter SM, Johnson DL, Ly DP, Butler PD, Yang GP, Joshua B, Kaplan MJ, Longaker MT, Weissman IL.
Human melanoma-initiating cells express neural crest nerve growth factor receptor CD271.
Nature. 2010 Jul 1;466(7302):133-7.
Boiko AD, Porteous S, Razorenova OV, Krivokrysenko VI, Williams BR, Gudkov AV.
A systematic search for downstream mediators of tumor suppressor function of p53 reveals a major role of BTG2 in suppression of Ras-induced transformation.
Genes Dev. 2006 Jan 15;20(2):236-52.
Lu T, Burdelya LG, Swiatkowski SM, Boiko AD, Howe PH, Stark GR, Gudkov AV.
Secreted transforming growth factor beta2 activates NF-kappaB, blocks apoptosis, and is essential for the survival of some tumor cells.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2004 May 4;101(18):7112-7.
Zou X, Ray D, Aziyu A, Christov K, Boiko AD, Gudkov AV, Kiyokawa H.
Cdk4 disruption renders primary mouse cells resistant to oncogenic transformation, leading to Arf/p53-independent senescence.
Genes Dev. 2002 Nov 15;16(22):2923-34.
Axenovich SA, Kazarov AR, Boiko AD, Armin G, Roninson IB, Gudkov AV.
Altered expression of ubiquitous kinesin heavy chain results in resistance to etoposide and hypersensitivity to colchicine: mapping of the domain associated with drug response.
Cancer Res. 1998 Aug 1;58(15):3423-8.
Professional Societies
American Association of Cancer Research
International Society of Stem Cell Research
Other Experience
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Stanford University 2006—2011

Graduate Programs
Cancer Biology

Cell Biology

Cellular and Molecular Biosciences

Developmental Biology and Genetics

Mechanisms of Gene Expression

Stem Cell Biology

Research Centers
Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
Stem Cell Research Center
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