Faculty and Their Research Interests in Cancer Biology
Click on the faculty member’s name for a more in-depth description of their research and publications.
DEPARTMENT OF BIOCHEMISTRY AND CANCER BIOLOGY
Ivana de la Serna, Ph.D.
University Of California, Davis, 1998
Ineukaryotes, DNA is packaged into chromatin, the basic unit of which is the nucleosome.
Chromatin structure plays a critical role in the regulation of gene expression by
imposing topological constraints and by creating a barrier for general transcription
factors and other regulators. Dr. de la Serna studies the functional role of mammalian
SWI/SNF chromatin-remodeling enzymes and their effects on muscle and melanocyte differentiation.
Kathryn Eisenmann, Ph.D.
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, 2000
Understanding the role of Dia-interacting protein (DIP) in controlling formin (de)activation and its affects on amoeboid cell movement that may lend novel insight as to mechanisms controlling the transition towards amoeboid-based cell migration/invasion and metastasis of breast cancer cells and provide aan alternate therapeutic avenue.
J. David Dignam, Ph.D.
University of Texas, Houston, 1977
Dr. Dignam studies various aspects of nucleic acid enzymology focusing on with the structure and function of aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases which are essential for protein translation and the helicase proteins of adeno-associated virus.William A. Maltese, Ph.D.
Professor and Chairman
Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY, 1977
Dr. Maltese’s laboratory studies the Ras-related GTP-binding proteins encoded by the Rab gene family in mammalian cells. Rab proteins are localized in discrete organelles and vesicles, where they play key roles in protein trafficking between specific donor and acceptor compartments along the exocytic or endocytic routes. Rab proteins function in pathways that are required for cell growth, tumor metastasis, posttranslational processing of cell surface glycoproteins, and secretion of biologically important peptides.
Maurice Manning, Ph.D., D.Sc.
University of London, London, England, 1961
Research in Dr. Manning’s laboratory is focused on the design and solid phase synthesis of selective agonists and antagonists for the known (V1a, V1b, V2 and OT) receptors of the neurohypophysial hormones vasopressin and oxytocin.
Tammy Morrish, Ph.D.
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, 2005
The focus of the Morrish laboratory involves understanding how recombination-based mechanisms contribute to telomere maintenance particularly in tumors and primary cells lacking telomerase.
Jean H. Overmeyer, Ph.D.
Research Associate Professor
University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, 1991
I have been studying the mechanisms of Ras-induced cell death in glioblastoma cells
and am currently working on identifying the mechanisms that link H-Ras activation
to the formation of these macropinosomes. Studies are underway to precisely define
the downstream targets of activated Ras/Rac1 that are required to induce formation
of macropinosomes that lead to cell death in gliobastomas. Further elucidation of
these mechanistic pathways will improve our knowledge of triggers to induce cell death
in some types of cancers.|
Randall J. Ruch, Ph.D.
Medical University of Ohio, Toledo, 1988
Dr. Ruch’s research is focused on gap junction proteins to determine the role of these intercellular communication proteins in cellular growth regulation and neoplasia. He also studies how carcinogens, toxicants, and oncogenes alter gap junctional intercellular communication.
Cynthia M. Smas, D.Sc.
Harvard University, Boston, MA, 1994
Work in Dr. Smas’ laboratory addresses gene regulation and cell differentiation using two model systems: 1.) Differentiation of fibroblastic mesenchymal precursor cells to mature adipocytes that occurs in normal development but which may be accelerated in obesity; and 2.) Neuroendocrine differentiation that occurs during the course of prostate cancer and which may support a transition to androgen-independent tumor growth.Robert J. Trumbly, Ph.D.
University of California, Davis, CA, 1980
Dr. Trumbly’s major research interest is the mechanism of repression of transcription by the Cyc8-Tup1 complex in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The Cyc8-Tup1 complex acts as a co-repressor, which is recruited to different promoters by interaction with several distinct repressor proteins that bind directly to DNA.
Kandace J. Williams, Ph.D.
Professor and Associate Dean for College of Medicine & Life Sciences Graduate Program
Director, Cancer Biology track
Dartmouth Medical School, Hanover, NH, 1987
The discovery of mutational hot spots in the genomes of living organisms has captured the interest of several different scientific disciplines. Because of the strong association between specific mutagenic events and neoplastic transformation, Dr. Williams’ laboratory is interested in learning the molecular mechanisms responsible for increased frequency of mutation at targeted genomic locations.
Kam C. Yeung, Ph.D.
University of South Alabama, Mobile, AL, 1990
Dr. Yeung’s laboratory studies the molecular basis of signal transduction and how
extracellular signals are transduced into the transcription machinery. During the
last few years, his major research activities have been directed at de-convoluting
the complex Raf/MEK/Erk signaling pathway. He also studies the general transcription
repressor, Dr1/DRAP1, and how its activity is regulated by signaling pathways.
CENTER FOR DRUG DESIGN & DEVELOPMENT
Paul W. Erhardt, Ph.D.
Director, Center for Drug Design & Development
Professor, Medicinal & Biological Chemistry
Joint Professor, Biochemistry and Cancer Biology
DEPARTMENT OF MEDICAL MICROBIOLOGY AND IMMUNOLOGY
Akira Takashima, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor and Chairman
Nagoya City University Medical School, Nagoya, Japan, 1981 M.D. and 1989 Ph.D.
Dr. Takashima's major research interest is in the immuno-biology of specific leukocyte
subsets known as dendritic cells (DCs), which play crucial roles in the induction
of both innate and adaptive immunity. The objectives in his laboratory are: (a) to
study molecular mechanisms regulating the function of DCs (Basic Immunology), and
(b) to develop novel DC-targeted immunotherapeutic (Applied Immunology). For the
first objective, Dr. Takashima's group recently developed an intravital confocal imaging
system that enables real-time visualization of dynamic 3D behaviors of DCs in living
animals. To achieve the second objective, his group established a DC-based biosensor
system as a high-throughput drug screening platform for the discovery of agents that
deliver DC activation signals. Not only will these ongoing studies provide important
insights into the mechanisms controlling the behaviors and functions of DCs under
physiological and pathological conditions, they may also lead to the development of
innovative therapeutic strategies for the prevention and treatment of cancer, infectious
disease, autoimmune disorders, and organ transplantation.
DEPARTMENT OF MEDICINEJames C. Willey, M.D.
Medical College of Ohio, 1978
Dr. Willey’s laboratory studies the expression of multiple genes simultaneously by
quantitative, competitive RT-PCR in normal and tumor respiratory epithelial and alveolar
macrophage cells. These studies have provided a molecular signature that allows for
a prediction of how aggressive a tumor may become.
DEPARTMENT OF NEUROSCIENCES
Marthe J. Howard, Ph.D.
University of California, Irvine, CA, 1984
The work in my laboratory focuses on growth and transcription factor regulation in
the specification and differentiation of autonomic neurons. We use modern molecular
biology and cell biology techniques to assess gene regulation in avian and mouse embryos.
The overall goal of our studies is: (1) to identify genetic regulatory networks involved
in neurogenesis and expression of neurotransmitter molecules, (2) to identify cell
extrinsic signaling molecules involved in neurogenesis, and (3) to understand the
interplay between cell extrinsic cues and cell intrinsic patterns of gene regulation
resulting in differentiation of autonomic neurons. Howard's lab is funded by the
National Institute of Health (NIDDK, NINDS).
DEPARTMENT OF PATHOLOGY
William T. Gunning III, Ph.D.
Medical University of Ohio, Toledo, OH, 1991
Dr. Gunning’s research is focused on two distinct research projects. One project involves experimental carcinogenesis and chemoprevention studies with the strain A mouse lung tumor adenoma model. The second research project is clinically oriented; it is directed toward evaluation of individuals having prolonged bleeding times.
DEPARTMENT OF PHYSIOLOGY AND PHARMACOLOGY
Sonia Najjar, Ph.D.
Stanford University, Redwood City, CA, 1989
Understanding the mechanisms of obesity, type 2 diabetes and fatty liver disease.
Edwin R. Sanchez, Ph.D.
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, 1983
Regulation of steroid hormone receptors, with emphasis on the convergence of the heat shock, immunophilin and glucocorticoid receptor signal pathways.
DEPARTMENT OF SURGERY
David C. Allison, M.D., Ph.D.
University of Michigan College of Medicine, Ann Arbor, MI, M.D.
University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, Ph.D.
Dr. Allison’s laboratory is studying the mechanisms responsible for the selection of chromosomal abnormalities in aneuploid cancers. We are specifically testing the possibility that chromosomal abnormalities are conserved to retain cell-survival genes required for tumor-cell growth coincident with the loss of chromosomal regions containing tumor suppressor genes retarding tumor growth, or losses of heterozygosity (LOHs). Special attention is being paid to the possibility that tumor LOHs might prove to be an important indicator for breast cancer patients. Techniques employed in the laboratory include Gene Mapping and Expression Arrays, Spectral Karyotyping analysis of cancer chromosomes, and Laser Capture Microdissection of breast cancer cells in paraffin-embedded tissue blocks.
Keith Crist, M.D.
University of California at Davis, Davis, CA, Ph.D.
Renal cell and ovarian cancers show initial objective response to first line therapy but are associated with high mortality due to recurrence of chemoresistant disease. Chemosensitization of residual tumor by low dose chemotherapeutic drug treatment followed by IL-2 activation of host cytotoxic immune attack is a possible alternative mode of therapy. We have demonstrated the potential effectiveness of this regimen in an in vitro system and are currently exploring expression differences between control and susceptible drug treated cells. Use of currently approved drugs at low dosage will allow for rapid transition to clinical trials after appropriate pre-clinical work is completed.
DEPARTMENT OF UROLOGY
Jerzy Jankun, Ph.D.
Research Professor in Physiology and Molecular Medicine Professor of Urology
Director of Urology Research Center (UT/MUO Cooperative)
A. Cieszkowski University (A.R.), Poznan, Poland, 1977
Ewa Skrzypczak-Jankun, Ph.D.
Research Associate Professor
A. Mickiewicz University, 1976
(1) Natural compounds and their interaction with enzymes. Utilization of the natural products in the therapy and prevention of diseases. (2) Targeted drug design, molecular modeling with a special emphasis on cancer. (3) Structure and function of enzymes, proteins and natural products. (4) X-ray structural analysis of molecules in single crystals, powders and thin films.