Mikhail Kolonin

Editorial Board Member

Mikhail Kolonin, PhD
Center For Metabolic and Degenerative Diseases
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, USA

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Department / University Information


Dr. Mikhail Kolonin, received his B.S./M.S. degree from Novosibirsk State University (Russia) and Ph.D. from Wayne State University (Detroit, MI) where he has pioneered the concept of expressing small peptides designed to disrupt specific protein interactions in live animals using Drosophila as a model. As a post-doctoral fellow at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, he has optimized in vivo phage display technology to isolate differentially expressed vascular cell surface molecules by integrating molecular biology of angiogenesis with bioinformatics. This work, first initiated in the mouse model and then translated to screens in cancer patients, has led to several tissue-specific cell surface protein interactions that are now pursued as therapy targets. A drug prototype based on a peptide targeting interleukin-11 receptor in the prostate is in clinical trials. Based on peptide-directed drug delivery, Dr. Kolonin also co-invented an approach to obesity reversal through directed ablation of white fat vasculature. A compound targeting prohibitin protein on the surface of adipose endothelium (Adipotide), currently under commercial development, has proven effective as an experimental obesity drug in rodent and non-human primate models.

Research Interest

Research in the Kolonin Laboratory converges on stem cells, obesity, and cancer. Specifically, the focus is on intercellular interactions in adipose tissues and tumors and the role of adult progenitor cells in pathology. These studies are based on the analysis of clinical specimens and mouse models. Dr. Kolonin and colleagues have discovered the phenomenon of adipose cell mobilization and trafficking to tumors and the stimulatory effect of adipose stromal cells on cancer progression. These findings have provided new insights on the association between obesity and cancer. The molecular mechanisms of adipose cell migration to tumors and their role in tumor microenvironment are under investigation. The group expertise in cell population separation and identification of tissue-specific cell surface receptors has led to the recent identification of delta-decorin as the first known marker selectively expressed on adipose progenitor cells. An agent designed to target adipose progenitor cells through binding to delta-decorin is being pre-clinically tested for long-term treatment of obesity and a combination cancer therapy. Other projects are focused on identification of molecules targeting brown adipose tissue for whole body imaging applications, adipose tissue engineering in three-dimensional culture, identification of liposarcoma-initiating cells, and exploring the role of adipose tissue in leukemia progression.