Man-Sun Sy, PhD

Department of Pathology
School of Medicine

Dr. Man-Sun Sy received his B.A. from the University of Colorado in 1973, continuing on to earn an M.A. and a Ph.D. in 1979. From 1979 until 1992, he was on the faculty at Harvard Medical School, in the Department of Pathology, as an Instructor, Assistant Professor, and Associate Professor. Presently, Dr. Sy is a Professor of Pathology and of Medical and Neurosciences at Case's School of Medicine.

Research Information

Research Projects

The laboratory focuses on:

  • Basic prion biology
  • Pathogenesis of prion disease
  • The role prions plays in human cancer


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Prion in human cancers

Li, C.Y., Yu, S., Nakamura, F., Yin, S., Xu, J., Patrolla, A.A., Singh, N., Tartakoff, T., Abbott, D. W., X, Wei., and Sy, M.S. (2009). Binding of pro-prion to FLNa disrupts cytoskeleton and correlates with poor prognosis in pancreatic cancer. J. Clin. Invest. 119:2725-2736.

Sy M.S., C. Li and Wei X., 2010. The fatal attraction between pro-prion and filamin A: Prion as a marker in human cancer. Biomark Med. 2010 Jun. 4(3): 453-64.

Li, C.Y., Yu, S., Nakamura, F., Pentikainen, O.T., Singh, N., Yin, S., X, Wei., and Sy, M.S. 2010. Pro-prion binds filamin A facilitating its interaction with integrin beta 1 and promote melanomagenesis. J. Biol. Chem. (Epubl July 21, ahead of print).

Li, C., Wei, X and Sy, M.S., 2010. Binding of pro-prion to filamin A: by design or an unfortunate blunder.. Oncogene (Epubl. Aug. 9, 2010).

Biology of normal cellular prion and pathogenesis of prion diseases

Yin, S., Yu, S., Li, C.Y., Wong, P., Chang, B., Xiao, F., Kang, S.C., Yan, H., Xiao, G., Grassi, J., Tien, P., and Sy, M.S. (2006). Prion proteins with insertion mutations have altered N-terminal conformation, increased ligand-binding activity and are more susceptible to oxidative attack. J. Biol. Chem. 281:10698-10705.

Yu, S., Yin, S., Li, C., Wong, P., Chang, B., Xiao, F., Kang, S.C., Yan, H., Xia, G., Tein, P., and Sy, M.S. (2007). Aggregation of prion protein with insertion mutations is proportional to the number of inserts. Biochemical J. 403:343-351.

Yin S., Pham, N., Yu, S., Li, C.Y., Wong, P., Chang, B.G., Kang, S.C., Biasini, E., Harris, D. A., and Sy, M. S. (2007). Human prion proteins with pathogenic mutations share common conformational changes resulting in enhanced binding to glycosaminoglycans. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. (USA) 104:7546-7551.

Yin, S.M., Fan, X.G., Yu. S.L., Li., C.Y., and Sy, M.S. (2008). Binding of recombinant normal cellular prion protein to DAN results in DNA internalization and expression in mammalian cells. J. Biol. Chem. 283: 25446-25454.

Yu, S., Yin, S., Pham, N., Wong, P., Kang, S.C., Petersen, R. B., Li, C., and Sy, M. S. (2008). Ligand binding promotes prion protein aggregation-role of the octapeptide repeats. The FEBS, J. 275:5564-5575.

Sy M.S. (2009). The saga of prion: to cut or not to cut. Cell Res. 2009 Sep;19(9):1039-40. doi: 10.1038/cr.2009.102. Epub 2009 Sep 3.


Doctor of Philosophy
University of Colorado
Master of Arts
University of Colorado
Bachelor of Arts
University of Colorado