Faculty Profiles: CAB
Associate Chair of Pediatrics for Basic Research
Director, Children’s Cancer Programs at UM SCCC
Director, Pediatric Hematology-Oncology
Toppel Family Professor of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology
Associate Director for Education and Training
Professor, Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology
The Burnstein lab studies steroid hormone / nuclear receptor signaling in prostate cancer and how receptor cross-talk pathways can be targeted therapeutically. In particular, the roles of androgen receptors (wild type, mutant and constitutively active variants) in driving prostate tumor growth and vitamin D receptors in cancer inhibition are longstanding interests. In recent work, we are examining the therapeutic use and mechanisms of a metastasis-suppressing microRNA cluster in prostate cancer.
Associate Professor of Microbiology and Immunology
My laboratory studies immunological mechanisms and interventions of cancer and diabetes. We build animal models to mimic the genetic and genomic risks of human diseases. We use the in vivo models to examine the cause and effect of disease biology at cellular and molecular levels, identify potential biomarkers for disease progression, and test potential interventions for disease prevention and treatment.
Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Our research is at the interface of chemistry and biology with particular emphasis on nanocarrier mediated intracellular delivery of payloads for potential applications in various diseases. Our research is directed to develop organelle targeted nanoparticles and to study nanoparticle assisted targeted delivery for possible applications in cancer, cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases and to provide the scientific community with valuable knowledge that can guide into the discovery of potential drug candidates and vaccines.
Associate Professor, Human Genetics
The Figueroa lab studies the role of epigenetic modifications in transcriptional regulation during normal and malignant hemopoiesis. Our focus is mainly on how changes in normal epigenetic patterns occur during malignant transformation and how these changes may contribute to the leukemogenic process. We use a combination of computational approaches based on genome-wide next generation sequencing data as well as in vitro and in vivo modeling to determine the consequences of the epigenetic lesions that we have identified.
Research Assistant Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology
Division of Gynecologic Oncology
We study hereditary and ovarian cancer syndrome. We study fallopian tube epithelia from women deemed to be at a high-risk for developing breast and/or ovarian cancer. Our work has found that the menstrual cycle (hormones), inflammation and parity all influence the development of ovarian cancer. Most recently, we have identified that FTE in the fimbria have a unique metabolic and antioxidant phenotype compared to the ampulla. This phenotype allows the FTE in the high-risk zone to tolerate environmental stressors from ovulation and the nutrient rich pro-inflammatory peritoneal cavity.
Director, Ocular Oncology
Mark J. Daily Chair, Ophthalmology
Vice Chairman, Translational Research
Clinical Trials for High Risk Uveal Melanoma and Retinoblastoma, Intraocular Lymphoma, Hereditary Eye Tumors, Ocular Biopsy, Using Genetic and Genomic Methods to Develop New Diagnostic, Prognostic and Therapeutic Technologies for Eye Cancers.
Associate Director, Division of Cancer Prevention and Control
Professor, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; Public Health
As a trans-disciplinary cancer researcher, Dr. Hu has training in basic sciences and cancer epidemiology. Her research mainly focuses on the molecular and genetic mechanisms of breast cancer etiology and survival disparities as well as implication of DNA repair in precision medicine.
Research Assistant Professor, Cell Biology
Dr. Hudson lab’s research is focused on understanding receptor based mechanisms underlying disease states including breast cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, and translating these basic observations to human clinical studies. His research efforts have focused on the role of the Receptor for Advanced Glycation End-products (RAGE) and its ligands (AGEs, s100s and HMGB1) in these disease settings. Most recently, his laboratory has made important observations of the role RAGE and its ligand in breast cancer progression and metastasis, and that blocking RAGE signaling may be an attractive therapeutic target for reducing tumorigenesis and metastasis.
Associate Professor, Microbiology and Immunology
Associate Professor, Cell Biology and Anatomy
The research in the lab focuses on: (1) Molecular pathways that regulate self-renewal and differentiation of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) and cancer stem cells, (2) Novel multi-target immunosuppressive approaches to treat immune-mediated Aplastic Anemia and bone marrow failure, (3) Characterization and mitigation of long-term effects of cancer chemotherapy on HSC function, hematopoiesis and immune system function, (4) Characterization and mitigation of acute and delayed effects of ionizing radiation on the hematopoietic system and HSC function, and (5) Characterization of molecular and cellular pathways regulating emergency hematopoiesis in response to bacterial and viral infections.
Professor, Microbiology & Immunology
Our experimental approaches include in vivo experiments using gene-targeted mice, ex vivo analysis of immune cells by flow cytometry, cell adhesion and migration, global gene expression (NGS) and in vitro biochemical analysis of posttranslational modification of signaling proteins. Identification and functional relevance of critical molecules in immunity, autoimmunity and lymphoid malignancies will facilitate the development of next generation of biological and more precise therapeutics.
Professor, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
The laboratory studies mechanisms involved in the cellular adaptation to the adverse environmental conditions commonly found within the tumor microenvironment (hypoxia and extracellular acidosis). These extracellular stimuli alter fundamental cellular pathways by 1) activating an alternate translation apparatus that synthesizes proteins only in the absence of oxygen and 2) inducing a new class of long noncoding RNAs that regulate protein function. Ongoing projects blend basic and translational scientific research from the identification of novel stress-induced long noncoding RNA to discovery of drug as small molecular inhibitors for these essential tumor biology pathways.
Professor, Molecular & Cellular Pharmacology
Director, MD/PhD Program
Membrane Transport: Sorting and regulation of protein traffic in the endocytic and secretory pathways and during Autophagy
Professor, Microbiology and Immunology
My laboratory’s research objective is to understand the biology of allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplants (HSCT) which are utilized to treat patients with hematologic disorders (ex. leukemia / lymphoma) and enzyme deficiencies. We employ experimental HSCT models involving defined genetic differences reflecting clinical donors and recipients to study mechanisms underlying the major immunological complication, i.e. graft vs. host disease as well as immune reconstitution and anti-tumor immunity in an effort to develop therapeutic approaches (i.e. Treg cells / IL-2 / epigenetic regulation) to translate into the clinic here at UM/ Sylvester.
Deputy Director, Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center
Kathleen & Stanley Glaser Professor
Our lab studies the mechanisms by which macro-environmental influences such as depression, obesity and diabetes modulate the tumor microenvironment via inflammation, immune suppression and cancer associated fibroblasts to alter tumor progression and metastatic behavior. Our studies are done in animal models and in clinical trials.
Professor, Microbiology and Immunology
Dr. Mesri’s laboratory is currently working on: 1) Identifying the cell progenitor of KS. 2) Novel anti-viral interventions in KS 3) Novel use of a mouse infectious model for a KSHV like virus (MHV-68) to understand in vivo biology 4) Identifying normal genetic polymorphisms that predispose to KS 5) Using next generation sequencing to study KS pathogenesis and response to therapy 6) Study KSHV and HIV oncogenic interactions.
Research Assistant Professor, John T. Macdonald Foundation Department of Human Genetics
Dr. Morey has made a number of important contributions in identifying and characterizing essential regulators involved in stem cell identity, differentiation and cancer progression. His laboratory is interested in dissecting the molecular and biological functions of epigenetics machineries, with a special focus on Polycomb group proteins, in cancer and stem cells. Dr. Morey’s laboratory main projects include: 1. Identification and characterization of cancer driving mutations in epigenetic regulators. 2. Identification and characterization of novel non-histone methyltransferases substrates. 3. Role of epigenetic factors associated with tumor initiation, cancer progression and metastasis. 4. Cell fate modulation imposed by specific epigenetic factors.
Director, Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center
Professor, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Dr. Nimer has spent several decades conducting basic science and clinical research into the genetic basis and treatment of hematological malignancies. His laboratory has been trying to decipher the normal and abnormal regulatory mechanisms that control the expression of genes implicated in hematopoiesis and the biological mechanisms that control the formation of blood cells. The ultimate goal of his research is to identify new critical, cellular mechanism implicated in leukemogenesis and develop molecularly targeted therapies.
Professor, Marine Biology
My research interests are in marine animal models of disease processes, with an emphasis on cancer. Ongoing research includes: 1) a unique virus-like agent which causes peripheral nervous systems and pigment cell tumors in bicolor damselfish on Florida reefs, 2) vector design and optimization of transgenesis in zebrafish, 3) the effect of toxins from agal blooms using zebrafish and 4) health and husbandry of California sea hares, Aplysia californica, used in neurobiological research.
Academic Director, Oncogenomic Core Facility
Chief, Division of Cancer Genomics and Epigenetics
Director, Cancer Epigenetics Research Program
Professor, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
My laboratory has made a number of important contributions over the past several years in identifying and characterizing critical mediators of epigenome. These include a number of chromatin remodeling (human NURF, CERF, WCRF/ACF) and chromatin modifying UTX/MLL3/4, JARID1d, LSD1-CoREST complexes. Importantly, the emerging roles for non-coding RNAs in epigenetic regulation and their crosstalk with chromatin regulatory complexes persuaded us to characterize the key players in the biogenesis and effector function of non-coding RNAs.
Assistant Professor, Microbiology and Immunology
Uncontrolled activation of innate immune receptors by the pathogens can cause chronic inflammation and autoimmune diseases. My laboratory focuses on understanding the mechanisms of negative regulation of the transcription factor NF-κB activated by the innate immune receptors. Activation of NF-κB is critical to eliminate pathogens and to maintain tissue homeostasis. NF-κB activation needs to be tightly regulated after the danger is eliminated. The ubiquitin-editing enzyme A20 complex tightly regulates NF-κB activation. The mechanisms of the ubiquitin-editing enzyme A20 complex activation are not known. Thus, we wish to understand the mechanisms that activate the A20 complex and lead to termination of NF-κB activation and maintenance of tissue homeostasis.
Associate Director, Translational Research
Director, Braman Family Breast Cancer Institute
Dr. Slingerland’s research interests include: breast cancer, molecular mechanisms of signal transduction and hormone effects on cell cycle regulation and breast cancer cell growth, breast cancer stem cells as targets for therapy and the role of estrogen receptors in breast cancer.
Assistant Professor, Cell Biology
The mission of Dr. Thomas’s program is to develop integrated, multidisciplinary approaches to the study of liver cancer/liver diseases and to bridge clinical medicine and basic science with translation of fundamental knowledge to prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of liver diseases. The laboratory mainly focuses on viral hepatitis (Hepatitis B and C) and has developed models to study interactions between these viruses and cells in the liver including hepatocytes and macrophages. Cellular pathways studied include innate antiviral responses and the contribution ofthese pathways in oncogenesis.
Associate Dean, Therapeutic Innovation
Director, Center for Therapeutic Innovation
Professor, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
We study the role of the noncoding RNAs in schizophrenia, the role of microRNA in the mechanisms of drug dependency, regulatory RNA’s as mediators and biomarkers in Alzheimer’s Disease, the discovery and development of nociception receptor ligands in alcohol dependence, noncoding RNAsepigenomic modulators in Alzheimer’s Disease, the discovery of a potent and selective neuropeptide YY2 receptor antagonist probes, and comprehensive analysis of FRM1 locus transcriptional landscape.
The role of ASXL1 and NF1 in the pathogenesis of myeloid malignancies. The role of ASXL2 mutations in the pathogenesis of myeloid malignancies. To identify novel therapeutic targets and to develop rational therapies to treat myeloid malignancies.
Assistant Professor, Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology
Our lab is one of the less than ten labs in the world with demonstrated expertise working on posttranslational protein arginylation. Our research focuses on the effects of arginylation on cellular behaviors including cell migration and adhesions, stress response, and programmed cell death. We have a strong interest in the relevancy of arginylation in cardiac development and cancer progression. Test models include bacteria, yeast, mammalian cell lines, mouse, and actual human samples.