Dr. Ogretmen’s research is focused on deciphering the regulation and function of bioactive sphingolipids, specifically ceramide and sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P), in cancer development/progression and therapy. Specifically, roles and mechanisms of action of ceramide, an emerging tumor suppressor lipid which induces antiproliferative and apoptotic responses, are investigated. Some of the ongoing projects include: 1) determining mechanisms of the regulation of telomerase activity by sphingolipid metabolism and signaling; 2) exploring ceramide/ lipid-mediated regulation of te lomere length; 3) investigating the mechanisms of the activation of protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) through controlling the function of its biological inhibitor I2PP2A/ SET oncoprotein by FTY720 (Fingolimod); and 4) determining the roles and mechanisms of the regulation of de novo ceramide synthesis by ceramide synthases in ER stress, apoptosis, autophagy/mitophagy, and/or necroptosis in lung and head and neck cancers using cell culture, animal, and clinical cancer models. In addition, tumor-promoting roles of S1P, including the induction of cancer progression, promotion of metastasis, and development of drug resistance in various cancer models including human leukemias, are explored. The long-term goal of these studies is to develop mechanism-based therapeutic strategies against human cancers.
Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Principal Investigator and Director, Center of Biomedical Research Excellence in Lipidomics and Pathobiology
Program Leader, Lipid Signaling in Cancer Program, Hollings Cancer Center, Medical University of South Carolina
Director, Lipidomics Shared Resource, Hollings Cancer Center, Medical University of South Carolina