CANCER BIOLOGY

Diagram of receptors in a cell

Since the signing of the National Cancer Act in 1971 there has been enormous growth in our understanding of cancer biology and we are beginning to see the application of this knowledge to develop improved treatments for cancer. Faculty in the Pharmacology Department are at the forefront of this research with the broad goal of developing a detailed understanding of the underlying molecular mechanisms that drive cancer cell behavior and then applying this understanding to develop better, more tailored treatments for cancer. This concept, which exemplifies the idea of personalized medicine, is pursued in close collaboration with our colleagues in the University of Colorado Cancer Center to ensure that discoveries in the Department can be rapidly translated to the clinic.

Specific areas of cancer biology research in the Department include the study of mechanisms of cancer drug resistance, metastasis and tumor cell growth and death using cell biological, structural, biochemical, genetic and bioinformatics approaches. Additionally we have a major emphasis on the development of methods to identify gene expression patterns and other markers that predict which patients will be most likely to benefit from treatment with a particular anti-cancer drug.

Associated Faculty

Costello, James
Assistant Professor
PhD, 2009, Indiana Univ.
Systems and network biology approaches to disentangle signaling pathways in cancer development; Computational modeling of how therapeutic compounds function across different genomic backgrounds.

Cramer, Scott D.
Professor
PhD, 1992, Univ. of California, Santa Cruz
The molecular dissection of signaling pathways in prostatic cells, the identification of prostate progenitor or stem cells, and understanding epithelial-stromal interactions in normal and abnormal ductal morphogenesis.

Doebele, Robert C.
Associate Professor
MD/PhD, 2001, Univ. of Pennsylvania
Basic and translational research related to lung cancer. 

Ernst, Patricia
Professor
PhD, 1996, Univ. of California Los Angeles
Hematopoietic Stem Cell Development and Maintenance: The Role of the "Mixed Lineage Leukemia" Gene in Normal Blood Cell Development, Differentiation and Leukemia.

Ford, Heide, L.
Professor
PhD, 1995, Univ. of Rochester
My laboratory studies the parallels between normal development and tumorigenesis/metastasis with a focus on the role of the Six1/Eya transcriptional complex in TGF-beta signaling, epithelial to mesenchymal transition, cancer stem cells, and metastasis.

Heasley, Lynn E.
Professor
PhD, 1985, Univ. of California, San Diego
Investigating the role of MAP kinases and specific receptor tyrosine kinases in normal and transformed growth of lung epithelial cells using techniques of molecular and cell biology in lung epithelial cells and human lung cancer cell lines.

Jordan, Craig T.
Professor
PhD, 1991, Princeton University
The biology and molecular characteristics of leukemia stem cells (LSCs), with a particular emphasis on those properties mediating growth and survival.

Kutateladze, Tatiana G.
Professor
PhD, 1988, Moscow State Univ.
Epigenetics, phosphoinositide signaling, structural biology, NMR and crystal structures of proteins implicated in cancer, structure based drug design.

Nemenoff, Raphael A.
Professor
PhD, 1977, Cornell Univ.
Signaling pathways controlling growth and differentiation of vascular smooth muscle cells; Role of eicosanoids in lung cancer.

Schweppe, Rebecca E.
Associate Professor
PhD, 2000, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center
The focus of my lab is to identify novel molecular targets relevant to papillary and anaplastic thyroid cancer (PTC and ATC) with the ultimate goal of advancing these studies to clinical trials for thyroid cancer patients who do not respond to standard treatments.

Serkova, Natalie J.
Associate Professor
PhD, 1996, Univ. of Bremen
Animal Imaging (MRI, PET, CT); Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (MRS) based metabonomics; Cancer Metabolism and Physiology; Anti-Cancer Drugs; Ischemia/Reperfusion in Organs.

Sikora, Matthew J.
Assistant Professor
PhD, 2011, Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Steroid hormones; anti-estrogen; breast cancer

Theodorescu, Daniel*
Paul A. Bunn, Jr. Endowed Chair in Cancer Research, Professor of Surgery and Pharmacology, Director of the University of Colorado Comprehensive Cancer Center
MD, 1986, Queen's Univ. Faculty of Health Sciences; PhD, 1993, Univ. of Toronto
Working on a disease that has seen few advances in the last 30 years, Theodorescu has emerged as a leading translational bladder cancer researcher. Theodorescu is known for his work on the molecular mechanisms underlying bladder cancer and tools that determine drug response as well as discovery of new drugs for several cancer types.

Todorovic, Slobodan M.
Professor
MD/PhD, 1982/1990, University of Belgrade/University of Illinois
We investigate the role of voltage-gated calcium channels in the molecular mechanisms of analgesia and anesthesia

Thorburn, Andrew M.
Professor and Chairman
D.Phil., 1990, Univ. of Oxford
Understanding the signaling mechanisms that control apoptosis in cancer development and during the response of tumor cells to cancer therapeutics.

Wang, Xiao-Jing
Professor
MD, 1984, Beijing Medical Univ.
TGF-beta signal transduction, molecular mechanisms of cancer development and progression, functions of tumor suppressors and oncogenes.