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Youngjin Cho, PhD

Assistant Professor of Immunology
Department of Basic Sciences
Geisinger Commonwealth Research Department
North Campus

Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine
Medical Sciences Building
525 Pine St.
Office 3082W, Lab 3064W
Scranton, PA 18509
Fax: 570-504-9639

Youngjin Cho, PhD

Research interests

Youngjin Cho, PhD is assistant professor of immunology in the Department of Basic Sciences. She received her PhD in pathobiology at Keck School of Medicine at University of Southern California in affiliation with Children Hospital of Los Angeles. She worked as a postdoctoral fellow at Children Hospital of Los Angeles, Marry Babb Randolph Cancer Center at West Virginia University, and at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine. She is actively involved in education of both MD and Master of Biomedical Sciences (MBS) students. Her research focuses on understanding the signaling mechanisms in mesenchymal stem cells and osteoblasts that are important for bone formation.

Research interests include: mechanisms that control mesenchymal stem cells to diverge its fate to bone formation or fat formation; mechanisms that promote bone formation; and mouse model of development and pathogenesis.

Student research opportunities

Disease of low bone mass, such as osteopenia and osteoporosis, are major healthcare problems that affect more than 43 million people in the U.S. These diseases have a disproportionally impact on women and the elderly and lead to numerous clinical manifestations that increase morbidity and mortality, and adversely affect quality of life. Dr. Cho’s research aims to investigate the convergence of anabolic signaling in mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) and bone cells to regulate bone formation. In particular, her research focus on signaling pathway where the mechanical input and growth factor signal from environment is transduced through actin cytoskeletal associated proteins to regulate the differentiation and growth of MSC and bone cells.

Recent publications

  • Cho Y, Gutierrez L, Bordonaro M, Russo D, Hooven J, et al. Effects of propolis and gamma-cyclodextrin on intestinal neoplasia in normal weight and obese mice. Cancer medicine. 2016
  • Cho Y, Silverstein R, Geisinger MT, Martinkovich S, Corkill H, Cunnick JM, Planey SL, Arnott JA. AFAP1 Is a Novel Downstream Mediator of TGF-β1 for CCN2 Induction in Osteoblasts. PLoS One. 2015 Sep 4;10(9)
  • Cunnick J, Kim S, Hadsell J, Cerra C, Reiser P, Flynn D, Cho Y (2014) Actin filament-associated protein 1 is required for cSrc activity and secretory activation in the lactating mammary gland. Oncogene 34:2640-9
  • Snyder BN*, Cho Y*, Qian Y, Coad JE, Flynn DC, Cunnick JM. (2011) AFAP1L1 is a novel adaptor protein of the AFAP family that interacts with cortactin and localizes to invadosomes. Eur J Cell Biol 90:376-89
  • Clump AC, Yu JJ, Cho Y, Gao R, Jett J, Zot H, Cunnick JM, Snyder B, Clump AC, Dodrill M, Gannett P, Coad JE, Shurina R, Figg WD, Reed E, and Flynn DC. (2010) A polymorphic variant of AFAP-110 enhances cSrc activity. Transl Oncol 3:276-285.
  • Cunnick JM, Schmidhuber S, Chen G, Yu M, Yi SJ, Cho YJ, Kaartinen V, Minoo P, Warburton D, Groffen J, Heisterkamp N. (2009) Bcr and Abr cooperate in negatively regulating acute inflammatory responses. Mol Cell Biol 29:5742-5750.
  • Dorfleutner A, Cho YJ., Vincent D, Cunnick J, Lin H, Weed S, Stehlik C, and Flynn DC. (2008) Phosphorylation of AFAP-110 affects podosome lifespan in A7r5 cells. Journal of Cell Science 121:2394-2405.
  • Flynn DC, Cho YJ, Vincent D, and Cunnick J. (2008) Podosomes and invadopodia: Related structures with common protein components that may promote breast cancer cellular invasion. Breast Cancer: Basic and clinical research 1: 1-13.
  • Kweon SM, Cho YJ, Minoo P, Groffen J, Heisterkamp N. (2008) Activity of the Bcr GTPase-activating domain is regulated through direct protein/protein interaction with the Rho guanine nucleotide dissociation inhibitor. J Biol Chem 283:3023-30.
  • Cho YJ*, Cunnick J*, Kaartinen V, Groffen J, Heisterkamp N. (2007) Abr and Bcr, two   homologous RacGAPs, control multiple cellular functions of murine macrophages. Mol Cell Biol. 27:899-911.
  • Cunnick J, Kaur P, Cho YJ, Groffen J, Heisterkamp N. (2006) Use of bone marrow-derived macrophages to model murine innate immune responses. J Immunol Methods. 1-2:96-105.
  • Cho YJ*, Hemmeryckx B*, Groffen J, Heisterkamp N. (2005) Interaction of Bcr/Abl with C3G, an exchange factor for the small GTPase Rap1 through the adapter protein Crkl. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 4:1276-83.
  • Cho YJ*, Zhang B*, Kaartinen V, Haataja L, de Curtis I, Groffen J, Heisterkamp N. (2005) Generation of rac3 null mutant mice: role of Rac3 in Bcr/Abl-caused lymphoblastic leukemia. Mol Cell Biol. 13:5777-85.


Bachelor's – Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), Daejon, South Korea
MS – KAIST, Deajon, South Korea
PhD – Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA