The major goal of our laboratory is to study the molecular mechanisms through which the ubiquitin system control the three key dimensions of cellular life (i.e., growth/proliferation, survival, and differentiation).  To this end, we are using comprehensive and interdisciplinary approaches that incorporate biochemistry, cell biology, somatic cell genetics, and mouse genetics. As we discover the details of how timed degradation of regulatory proteins by the ubiquitin system controls fundamental cellular pathways, we integrate these insights from basic research with the study of human cancers. 

Our laboratory’s philosophy can be summarized in one sentence written by the Chinese general Sun Tzu in The Art of War:  “If you do not know your enemy, you will be imperiled in battle.” Although the current era of system genomics provides a complete genetic profile of cancers, we will be unable to properly translate this information for patient therapy unless we also understand the cellular functions of the molecules we want to target.  In other terms, we cannot translate and we cannot defeat what we do not understand.

This statement is based on a strong, deep-rooted believe that basic research should drive translational research.  Too often, the term “translational research” is used as an empty slogan, detached from the meaning of its roots.  To translate a document, one must change words from one language into another.  Therefore, translation requires an original text.  Sometimes the original text is uninspired and not worth translation.  Other times it is “Confucius, Dante, Shakespeare, or Tolstoy” and proper translation is vital.  We believe that our studies are contributing to a text worthy to be translated to improve health care.

The Pagano Laboratory

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology

Perlmutter Cancer Center

New York University School of Medicine


Howard Hughes Medical Institute

522 First Ave, Smilow Research Building 1107

New York, NY 10016

“No matter how counter-intuitive it may seem, basic research has proven over and over to be the lifeline of practical advances in medicine.”

Arthur Kornberg

“Il n'existe pas de sciences appliquées, mais seulement des applications de la science”

(There are no such things as applied sciences, only applications of science)

           Louis Pasteur