Masonic Cancer Center

A comprehensive cancer center designated by the National Cancer Institute

Carciongenesis and Chemoprevention

About the Carcinogenesis and Chemoprevention Program

Program Leaders:

Frank Ondrey, M.D., Ph.D.
Lisa Peterson, Ph.D.

AHCMCC2 - Image - Lisa Peterson 180x222AHCMCC2 - Image - Frank Ondrey 180x222

The scientific goals of the Carcinogenesis and Chemoprevention Program are to elucidate chemical and molecular mechanisms of carcinogenesis and to use this knowledge to develop and evaluate practical methods for cancer prevention. The program has 27 members from 12 departments and institutes within the University of Minnesota.

Research themes:

  • Tobacco and cancer
  • Chemical and molecular mechanisms of carcinogenesis
  • Chemoprevention of cancer

Within these themes, investigators focus on the causes, mechanisms, and prevention of human cancer in a superb collaborative and translational environment.

Program Meeting Schedule
    Research Program Members
  • AHCMCC2 - Image - 70x80 - Arriaga, Edward

    Edgar Arriaga, Ph.D.
    Exploration and characterization of subcellular organelles to elucidate the complexities of biological systems and address current biomedical problems; biochemistry of mitochondria and biotransformations of drug and xenobiotics in subcellular environments capillary electrophoresis, microfluidics, single molecule detection, and imaging.

    AHCMCC2 - Image - Balboa70x80

    Silvia Balbo, Ph.D.
    Development of methods to quantify and identify markers for the investigation of mechanisms of carcinogenesis related to exposure to alcohol and tobacco using innovative mass spectrometry technology and cutting-edge adductomics with a focus of studying mechanisms of carcinogenesis related to head and neck, esophageal, lung and colon cancer


    Anne Bode, Ph.D.
    Mechanisms of cancer induction by targeting specific cancer genes, signaling proteins, and transcription factors.


    Margot Cleary, Ph.D.
    The effect of body weight and food intake on the development of breast cancer and prostate cancer using mouse models. Studies include the effect of genetic and diet-induced obesity on breast/mammary tumor development, particularly with respect to body fat and serum IFG-1, leptin, and adiponectin levels.


    Mark Distefano, Ph.D.
    Chemistry and biology of famesyl diphosphate and related molecules which serve a multitude of functions in biological systems. It acts as a membrane anchor signaling proteins that regulate cell growth and is the precursor to many natural products with medicinal activity.


    Zigang Dong, M.D., Dr.P.H.
    Molecular mechanisms of cancer development and the actions of chemopreventive agents in cancer prevention; tumor promoter-induced signal transduction pathways and their role in the process of neoplastic cell transformation, carcinogenesis, and cancer prevention using molecular and cell biological techniques, transgenic mice and mouse gene-knockout models

    AHCMCC2 - Image - 70x60 - Robert Fecik

    Robert Fecik, Ph.D.
    The synthesis of natural products and related compounds and evaluation of their role in the cancer process, particularly with regard to tubulin biology

    AHCMCC2 - Image - 70x60 - Naomi Fujioka

    Naomi Fujioka, M.D.
    Chemoprevention of tobacco-related lung cancer and therapeutic clinical trials; clinical interest is the treatment of lung cancer and head and neck cancer.


    Myron Gross, Ph.D.
    The development of biomarkers and their application in epidemiologic studies for the identification of risk factors and mechanisms associated with chronic disease with a focus on breast, colon and pancreatic cancer as well as the specific areas of DNA repair, oxidative damage and antioxidants, adhesion molecules, inflammation, dietary components and genetic susceptibility


    Daniel Harki, Ph.D.
    Synthesis and biophysical characterization of novel small molecules that influence cellular function; the development of probes to study cancer stem cell biology, synthesis and characterization of natural product analogues that target cancer stem cells, and the development of chemical probes to study protein-DNA interactions.


    Stephen Hecht, Ph.D.
    The Hecht laboratory focuses on mechanisms and prevention of tobacco-induced cancer, elucidating mammalian metabolic pathways and interactions of carcinogens with DNA. This information is used to develop biomarkers, which are applied in collaborative clinical and epidemiologic studies.

    AHCMCC2 - Image - 70x60 - Thomas Hoye

    Thomas Hoye, Ph.D.
    Discovery and development of new strategies for chemical synthesis, including applications to natural products.


    Fekadu Kassie, D.V.M., M.Sc, Ph.D.
    Development of natural and synthetic cancer preventive agents, with particular interest in lung cancer.

    AHCMCC2 - Image - 70x60 - Samir Khariwala

    Samir Khariwala, M.D.
    Using tobacco carcinogen and toxicant biomarkers to identify those smokers who are most likely to prevent with tumors of the head and neck, and in developing targeted preventive interventions against head and neck cancer.


    Mindy Kurzer, Ph.D.
    Interactions between hormone metabolism and cancer, as well as the biological effects of dietary estrogens (phytoestrogens).

    AHCMCC2 - Image - 70x60 - Shujun Liu

    Shujun Liu, Ph.D.
    How aberrant epigenetics and protein kinase activities drive tumorigenesis; exploration of activating and inhibitory molecules to modulate the aberrations pharmacologically.


    Sharon Murphy, Ph.D.
    The metabolism of nicotine and nitrosamines; characterization of the specificity of P450 enzymes and UDP-glucuronosyl transferases involved in these reactions; collaborative studies on nicotine metabolism in smokers are on-going to investigate the influence of individual differences in nicotine metabolism on smoking behavior and nicotine dependence

    AHCMCC2 - Image - 70x60 - Frank Ondrey

    Frank Ondrey, M.D., Ph.D.
    Preclinical and clinical development of chemopreventive agents targeted at oral cancer and lung cancer.

    AHCMCC2 - Image - 70x60 - Jayanth Panyam
    612- 624-0951

    Jayanth Panyman, Ph.D.
    Use of novel delivery systems for treatment and prevention of cancer; mechanisms of nanotechnology-based drug delivery, with emphasis on understanding how various biological factors and carrier properties affect the effectiveness of targeted delivery systems.


    Lisa Peterson, Ph.D.
    Mechanisms of toxicity and carcinogenecity caused by environmental chemicals; how DNA repair proteins influence the mutagenic and carcinogenic properties of tobacco-specific nitrosamines; mechanism by which furan induces liver tumors in laboratory animals.

    AHCMCC2 - Image - 70x60 - William Pomerantz

    William Pomerantz, Ph.D.
    Modulation of protein-protein interactions of intrinsically disordered proteins by developing chemical probes and structural biology tools for studying the role of these interactions in disease and developing new therapeutics

    AHCMCC2 - Image - Smanski70x80

    Michael Smanski, Ph.D.
    Natural products as a source of novel anticancer chemotherapeutics; development of a high-throughput platform for mining new natural products from sequenced microbial genomes with a focus on molecules with anticancer properties


    Irina Stepanov, Ph.D.
    Development of novel biomarkers of human exposure to chemical carcinogens; carcinogen-induced damage to chromosomal and mitochondrial DNA; application of biomarkers to understand inter-individual differences in susceptibility to chemical carcinogen-induced cancer; tobacco carcinogenesis.


    Natalia Tretyakova, Ph.D.
    Investigation of the structural basis for carcinogenic and anticancer activity of DNA- and protein-modifying agents; the effects of nucleobase modifications on DNA structure and stability. Mass spectrometry is used to quantify the formation of DNA and protein adducts in vivo. These studies identify molecular targets of exogenous and endogenous electrophiles and provide an insight into the origins of their biological activity


    Sabrina Peterson Trudo, Ph.D., R.D.
    Investigation of the effects of plant foods and their constituents on biotransformation enzymes and carcinogen metabolism; the effects of gene-diet interactions on the activity of biotransformation enzymes; identification of diet-based strategies that decrease the risk of developing cancer

    AHCMCC2 - Image - 79x89 - Turesky

    Robert Turesky, Ph.D.
    Investigation of the metabolism of genotoxicants in the environment and diet, and development of biomarkers of their urinary metabolites and adduction products to DNA and protein. Mass spectrometric methods are employed to measure these biomarkers in collaborative molecular epidemiological studies, which seek to understand the role of hazardous chemicals and interindividual susceptibilities in the risk of developing cancer.


    Elizabeth Wattenberg, Ph.D.
    Molecular mechanisms by which different types of carcinogenic agents interfere with the cellular communications networks that control cell fate; application of 3-dimensional human cell culture systems as models for investigating chemical carcinogenesis.


    Chengguo (Chris) Xing, Ph.D.
    Developing chemopreventive agents and elucidating their mechanisms of action, using pharmacognosy, organic chemistry, molecular and cellular biology, and laboratory animal models

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  • Last modified on April 7, 2016