Department of Cell and Cancer Biology

Randall J. Ruch, Ph.D.

rr Randall J. Ruch, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus


Cells communicate with each other in many ways using secreted molecules (e.g., hormones, cytokines, growth factors, and nitric oxide), microvesicles, and direct cell contact through cellular junctions (e.g., synapses, desmosomes, hemidesmosomes, adherens junctions, and gap junctions).  Gap junctions are comprised of channels that link the interiors of neighboring cells and permit the diffusion of small molecules and ions directly between cells.  This gap junctional intercellular communication (GJIC) facilitates homeostasis, signaling and coordination of cells, and the regulation of cell birth, death and differentiation.  Gap junction defects cause some forms of peripheral neuropathy, hereditary deafness, cardiac arrhythmia, cataracts, infertility, and skin disease, and are also involved in atherosclerosis, birth defects, and cancer.  My current research interests are to understand how gap junctions become defective in cancer cells and carcinogen-treated cells, how gap junctions and their protein components known as connexins are regulated, and how gap junctions affect anti-cancer drug toxicity. 


1978 B.S., Biology, Florida State University
1981 M.S., Zoology, The Ohio State University
1988 Ph.D., Pathology, Medical University of Ohio
1988-1990 Post-doctoral Fellowship, Medical University of Ohio
1990-1992 Post-doctoral Fellowship , Wayne State University
2007 M.P.H., University of Toledo


2014-2018 Co-Director M.D./Ph.D. Program, University of Toledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences
2012-2018 Member, Bachelor of Science Biology/Pre-Med Program Advisory Committee, Mercy College, Toledo, OH
2011-2013 Associate Dean, College of Medicine and Life Sciences Graduate Programs
2009-2013 Director, Cell and Cancer Biology Track, Biomedical Sciences M.S. and Ph.D. program, University of Toledo, College of Medicine
2008-pres. Director, Certificate in Global Public Health program, University of Toledo and Bowling Green State University Public Health Consortium
2006-2011 Assistant Dean for Admissions, Biomedical Graduate Programs, University of Toledo College of Medicine
2005-pres. Scientific Advisory Board, University of Toledo Lake Erie Center
2004-pres. Associate Professor, Dept. of Biochemistry and Cell and Cancer Biology, University of Toledo College of Medicine
2001-2006 Associate Dean for Graduate Student Recruitment, Medical University of Ohio
1999-2001 Director, Molecular Basis of Disease Ph.D. Graduate Program, Medical University of Ohio
1997-2004 Associate Professor, Dept. of Pathology, Medical College of Ohio
1996-1999 Vice-Director, Molecular Basis of Disease Ph.D. Graduate Program, Medical University of Ohio


Ad Hoc Reviewer:
1992 National Institutes of Occupational Safety and Health
1993 International Human Frontier Science Program Organization
1994 Great Lakes Health Research Program
1995-96 National Institutes of Health, NIDDK, Program Project Reviewer
1996 National Institutes of Health, Chemical Pathology A Study Section
1997 National Institutes of Health, Alcohol and Toxicology II Study Section
1997 Medical Research Council of Canada
1997 Department of Energy
1999-2000 Veterans Administration
2001 National Cancer Institute of Canada
2001 Great Lakes Research Fund
2001-present Ohio Cancer Research Associates, Review Panel member
2002 Nebraska Research Initiative 2002
2003 Philip Morris External Research Program

Journal Peer Review:
Antioxidants and Redox Signaling, Archives of Toxicology, Biochimica Biophysica Acta, Biomed Central - Cancer, Biotechniques, Brain Research, British Journal of Cancer, Cancer Chemotherapy & Pharmacology, Cancer Letters, Cancer Research, Cancer Science, Carcinogenesis, Cell Biology and Toxicology, Cell Growth & Differentiation, Cellular and Molecular Biology Letters, Chemical Research in Toxicology, Clinical and Experimental Metastasis, Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, Developmental Genetics, Digestion, Environmental Science and Technology, Environmental Toxicology & Chemistry, Experimental Cell Research, The FASEB Journal, Fundamental and Applied Toxicology, Histology and Histopathology, In Vitro Cellular & Developmental Biology, International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics, Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, Journal of the American College of Toxicology, Journal of Cell Science, Journal of Clinical Investigation, Journal of Surgical Oncology,  Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Life Sciences, Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, Molecular Carcinogenesis, Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, Molecular Medicine Today, Nature, Neuroscience, Nutrition and Cancer, The Ohio Journal of Science, Oncogene, Oncology Research and Anti-Cancer Drug Design, Oncology Reports, Pesticide Biochemistry and Physiology, Radiation Research, Toxicon, Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, Toxicological Sciences, Veterinary Pathology


Ruch, RJ (2019) Connexin 43 suppresses lung cancer stem cells. Cancers (Basel) 11:175

Ruch RJ, Boucher PD, Gentry GB, and Shewach DS (2014) Gap junctional intracellular communication increases cytotoxicity and reduces resistance to hydroxyurea. J. Cancer Ther. 5:1190-1202.

Trosko, JE and Ruch, RJ (2014) Gap junctional intercellular communication. In: Encyclopedia of Toxicology, 3rd ed., vol. 2, P. Wexler, ed., Elsevier, Inc., Academic Press, pp. 693-699.

Matesic DF, Sidorova TS, Burns TJ, Bell AM, Tran PL, Ruch RJ and May SW (2012) p38 MAPK activiation, JNK inhibition, neoplastic growth inhibition, and increased gap junction communication in human lung carcinoma and Ras-transformed cells by 4-phenyl-3-butenoic acid. J. Cell biochem. 113:269-281.

Nadkarni A, Rajesh C, Ruch RJ, and Pittman DL (2009) The RAD51D (E233G) genetic variant confers p53-dependent cisplatin resistance in human breast carcinoma cell lines. Molec. Carcinogen., 48:586-591.

Gentry B, Im M, Boucher PD, Ruch RJ, Shewach DS (2005) GCV phosphates are transferred between HeLa cells despite lack of bystander cytotoxicity.  Gene Therapy, 12:1033-1041.

Abou-Rjaily GA, Lee SJ, May D, Al-Share QY, DeAngelis AM, Ruch RJ, Neumaier M, Kalthoff H, Lin S-H and Najjar SM (2004) CEACAM1 links metabolism to epidermal growth factor receptor-dependent cell proliferation.  A potential connection between obesity and cancer.  J. Clin. Invest., 114: 944-952.

Peebles KA, Duncan MW, Ruch, RJ, and Malkinson AM (2003) Proteomic analysis of a mouse lung carcinoma cell line whose tumorigenicity has been abrogated by transfection with the gap junction structural gene for connexin43, Gja1. Carcinogenesis, 24:651-657.

Warner KA, Fernstrom, MF, and Ruch RJ (2003) Inhibition of mouse hepatocyte gap junctional intercellular communication by phenobarbital in vivo and in vitro correlates with strain-specific hepatocarcinogenesis. Toxicol. Sci., 70:190-197.

Fernstrom MJ, Koffler LD, Abou-Rjaily G, Boucher PD, Shewach DS, and Ruch RJ (2002) Neoplastic reversal of human ovarian carcinoma cells transfected with Connexin43. Exp. Mol. Pathol. 73:54-60.

Koffler LD, Fernstrom MA, Akiyama TE, Gonzalez FJ, and Ruch RJ (2002) Positive regulation of connexin32 transcription by hepatocyte nuclear factor-1a. Arch. Biochem. Biophys., 407:160-167. 

Ruch RJ, Porter S, Koffler LD, Dwyer-Nield LD, and Malkinson AM (2001) Defective gap junctional intercellular communication in lung cancer: loss of an important mediator of tissue homeostasis and phenotypic regulation. Exp. Lung Res. 27:231-243.

Ruch RJ, Trosko JE, and Madhukar BV (2001) Inhibition of gap junctions by TPA: Role of extracellular signal regulated kinases. J. Cell. Biochem. 83:163-169. 

Piechocki MP, Burk RD, and Ruch RJ (2000) Transcriptional regulation of connexin32 in rat liver cells. Biochim. Biophys. Acta 1491:107-122.

Koffler L, Roshong S, Park IK, Cesen-Cummings K, Thompson DC, Dwyer-Nield LC, Rice P, Mamay C, Malkinson AM, and Ruch RJ (2000) Growth inhibition in G1 and altered expression of cyclin D1 and p27kip-1 after forced connexin expression in lung and liver carcinoma cells. J. Cell. Biochem. 79:347-354.

Hanna EA, Umhauer S, Roshong SL, Piechocki MP, Fernstrom MJ, Fanning JD, and Ruch RJ (1999) Gap junctional intercellular communication and connexin43 expression in human ovarian surface epithelial cells and ovarian carcinomas in vivo and in vitro. Carcinogenesis 20:1369-1373.

Last Updated: 6/27/22