Research

Cancer Research

The Cancer Research Group includes Drs. Spiegel, Zehner, Sumitra Deb, Swati Deb, Fang, Roesser, Dent, Larner, Bell, Barton, and Chalfant. These investigators are using molecular and biochemical tools to elucidate the molecular mechanisms of carcinogenesis. The expertise of this group includes lipid signaling, the molecular biology of tumor suppessors and onocgenes, and the regulation of gene expression during development and tumorigenesis. Through their collective efforts, the members of this group have identified novel mediators that regulate the growth and death of cancer cells and begun to elucidate the molecular mechanisms of these mediators. It is hoped that this information will be useful for the design and implementation of more effective anti-cancer agents.

Sumitra Deb  Sumitra Deb, Professor:

Molecular mechanisms of tumor suppressor p53; characterization of pathways used by p53 to regulate cell growth.
Sarah Spiegel Sarah Spiegel, Professor:

Role of sphingosine-1-phosphate in regulation of cell growth, apoptosis, and angiogenesis in human breast and prostate cancers.
Frank Fang  Frank Fang, Associate Professor:

The role of phospholipids, particularly lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) in the pathogenesis of ovarian, breast, and prostate cancer.
Zendra Zehner Zendra Zehner, Professor:

Regulation of gene expression during tumor progression; identification of microRNAs that control prostate tumorigenesis; Aberrant gene expression of IFPs in breast and prostate cancer; Mechanisms of transcriptional repression.
Charles Chalfant


Charles Chalfant, Associate Professor:

Ceramide regulation of the alternative splicing of Bcl-x in apoptosis/ cell growth.


Swati Deb  Swati Deb, Associate Professor:

Role of MDM2 and other oncogenes in cell growth regulation and deregulation.
James Roesser  James Roesser, Assistant Professor:

RNA splicing, tissue-specific regulation of calcitonin/ CGRP mRNA splicing, role of alternative mRNA splicing in pathogensis of Neurofibromatosus type I
Paul Dent  Paul Dent, Professor:

Novel signal modulators that regulate tumor cell responses to ionizing radiation, IL-24 sensitization of tumor cells to ionizing radiation.

William Barton
William Barton, Assistant Professor:

Regulation of angiogenesis and metastasis via Tie2 activation/de-activation during solid tumor development. Identification of small molecular inhibitors of Angiopoientin-2-Tie2 receptor-ligand system via computational as well as high-thoughput screening methodologies.

Jessica Bell  Jessica Bell, Assistant Professor:

Structural and biochemical analysis of ligand:receptor interactions of the innate immune system and the development of these ligands as cancer vaccine adjuvants.
Andrew Larner  Andrew Larner, Professor:

Integration of Jak/ Stat signaling and cell growth pathways. The Role of the Jak/Stat Signaling Pathway in Regulation of Gene Expression and Cell Metabolism.
Keith Baker  Keith Baker, Associate Professor:

Understanding the physiological role of nuclear hormone receptors: mechanism of regulated transcription; metabolic homeostasis.


VCU Department of Physiology and Biophysics Virginia Commonwealth University VCU Medical Center
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