Masonic Cancer Center

A comprehensive cancer center designated by the National Cancer Institute

Cell Signaling

About the Cell Signaling Program

Program Leader: Carol Lange, Ph.D.AHCMCC2 - Image - Carol Lange 180x272

Members of this program seek to define and understand the spectrum of altered signaling pathways and their components that contribute to cancer initiation, promotion, and disease progression. The goal is to facilitate the step-wide translation of this knowledge into novel strategies aimed at prevention, early detection, diagnostics and prognosis, and treatment of cancer. Programmatic focus includes the actions of cell surface receptors or nuclear receptors (i.e., steroid hormone receptors) and their ligands (the first messengers), intracellular second messengers, protein kinase cascades, and other signaling molecules that serve as modifiers of signal strength and duration, and the endpoints (substrates) of cell signaling pathways that regulate gene expression (transcription factors and their co-regulators, including DNA modifying enzymes).

Research themes:

  • Nuclear and steroid hormone receptor actions
  • Intracellular signaling and molecular targeted therapies
  • Mechanisms of regulation of gene transcription

The Cell Signaling program holds monthly meetings in which single projects or multiple projects within related topic areas are discussed in an interactive roundtable format:

Program Meeting Schedule
    Research Program members
  • Khalil_Ahmed

    Khalil Ahmed, Ph.D.
    Functional role of protein kinase CK2 in cancer cells, employing prostate cancer and head-and-neck cancer as experimental models.


    Peter Argenta, M.D.
    Early events in carcinogenesis and the treatment and prevention of ovarian cancer, with specific interest in using antiangiogenic agents in the management of metastatic tumors.

    AHCMCC2 - Image - Sulagna Banerjee 70x80

    Sulagna Banerjee, Ph.D.
    Pancreatic cancer stem cells and their functional significance in evading chemotherapy


    Vivian Bardwell, Ph.D.
    The role of transcription factors in cancer and development.

    AHCMCC2 - Image - 70x80 - Yue Chen 70x80

    Yue Chen, Ph.D.
    Development and application of powerful proteomic technologies in combination with biochemistry, cell biology and computational analysis to understand the dynamic profiles of the PTM networks in various diseases, and reveal the correlation between cellular metabolism and diverse PTM pathways.


    Scott Dehm, Ph.D.
    Rose of the androgen receptor in prostate cancer development and progression

    AHCMCC2 - Image - Yibin Deng-70x80

    Yibin Deng, M.D., Ph.D.
    Understanding how p53 controls apoptosis, senescence, and autophagy upon stress signals, and how p53 mutations that disrupt these processes impact tumor development and cancer therapy in vivo

    AHCMCC2 - Image - Barry Finzel - 70x80

    Barry Finzel, Ph,D.
    Structural biology research aimed at accelerating the development of medicinal agents and specific inhibitors of drug targets to advance the understanding of disease control, specifically to improve nucleoside pro-drug activation and to discover antagonists of CD44-mediated cell adhesion for improved cancer chemotherapy.


    Gunda Georg, Ph.D.
    Design, synthesis, and evaluation of synthetic and natural product-derived medicinal agents; drug discovery by HTS; new synthetic methods; combinatorial chemistry

    AHCMCC2 - Image - Peter Gordon, M.D., Ph.D. 70x80


    Peter Gordon, M.D., Ph.D.
    Development of approaches for overcoming bone marrow stromal cell mediated chemoresistance in AML and how factors secreted by cells within the leukemia microenvironment impact leukemia development and response to therapy

    Sergio Gradilone, Ph.D.
    The role of primary cilia in tumor biology; mechanisms and consequences of ciliary loss in cholangiocarcinoma and pancreatic, prostate and breast tumors

    AHCMCC2 - Image - Shilpa_Gupta_70x80

    Shilpa Gupta, M.D., M.B.B.S.
    Developing novel targeted therapies and immunotherapy combinations in bladder, prostate and kidney cancers; early phase clinical trials using targeted and immunotherapy agents, including checkpoint inhibitors; the role of androgen receptor (AR) in bladder cancer. 


    Timothy Hallstrom, Ph.D.
    Cellular mechanisms controlling Rb/E2F induced apoptosis during normal proliferation and in cancer development


    Daniel Harki, Ph.D
    Design, synthesis and biophysical characterization of small molecules that influence cellular function

    AHCMCC2 Image- Luke Hoeppner70x80

    Luke Hoeppner, Ph.D.
    Molecular mechanisms and signal transduction pathways involved in vascular permeability, lung cancer progression/metastasis, and cancer drug resistance using in vitro, murine, and zebrafish models as well as human samples.


    Ameeta Kelekar, Ph.D.
    Pathways of cell survival and death with special emphasis on Bcl-2 family proteins as regulators of these pathways


    Do-Hyung Kim, Ph.D.
    Understanding the molecular networks that coordinate nutrient metabolism and cell growth


    Badrinath Konedy, M.D., M.B.A.
    Urologic oncology; urinary markers for bladder cancer; new diagnostics techniques for prostate cancer; development of novel agents including gene therapy for prostate cancer

    AHCMCC2 - Image - Carol Lange 70x80

    Carol Lange, Ph.D.
    Mechanisms of cancer progression involving signal transduction cross talk with steroid hormone receptors in breast, lung, and ovarian cancer models; role of  MAPKs as major inputs to ligand-dependent and -independent progesterone receptor action and target gene selection in breast cancer; role of  Brk/PTK6 actions upstream of ERK5 and p37 MAPK stress signalling pathways in breast tumor progression/ hypoxia

    AHCMCC2 - Image - 70x80 - Cheuk-Leung


    Cheuk T. Leung, Ph.D.
    Mammary tumor initiation from normal tissue, and signaling of tumor dormancy and recurrence utilizing expertise in 3D organotypic models, molecular tool design for single-cell manipulation, 4D live imaging, and 3D screening platform development

    AHCMCC2 - Image - Faqian Li-70x80

    Faqian Li, M.D., Ph.D.
    Rose of the canonical Wnt pathway and epigenetic modifications in development and adult diseases; how signaling pathways interact with chromatic remodeling complex to modulate epigenome and gene expression

    Douglas Mashek, Ph.D.
    Lipid and energy metabolism and their role in development of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, Type 2 diabetes, and obesity; characterization of pathways of lipid metabolism in cancer biology


    Thomas Neufeld, Ph.D.
    Developmental mechanisms, genetic mechanisms, cell interactions, signal transduction, cell cycle regulation


    Julie Ostrander, Ph.D.
    Identification of biomarkers to identify pre-invasive breast cancer and response to chemoprevention

    AHCMCC2 - Image - Laurie Parker70x80

    Laurie Parker, Ph.D.
    Development of probes and biomarker analysis strategies for detecting therapeutic efficacy with a current focus on companion diagnostics to measure pharmacodynamics of kinase inhibitor drugs in leukemia; development of new directions to use cutting edge proteomics to study oxidative stress and potential prostate (and other) cancer biomarkers.

    AHCMCC2 - Image - Valerie Pierre-70x80

    Valeria Pierre, Ph.D.
    Design and synthesis of new molecules and materials for a targeted function; understanding the interplay among metals, reactive species, and cellular function in the brain and in tumors


    Vitaly Polunovsky, Ph.D.
    The role of mRNA cap-dependent translation in breast cancer


    David Potter, M.D., Ph.D.
    Potential role for the HIV protease inhibitor, ritonavir, as a modulator of PI2-kinase/AKT signaling in breast cancer and the development of new therapeutic approaches to breast cancer based on its function. Also of interest are the mechanisms of calpain proteases in cell motility and cytoskeletal remodeling.

    Ahmad Raza, M.D.
    Basic science researech focused on lung cancer and mesothelioma; oversight of clinical trials at community oncology clinics

    James Robinson, Ph.D.
    Development a systematic approach for the identification and validation of stromal signaling pathways responsible for the promotion, maintenance, metastasis, and chemoresistance of cancer


    Teresa Rose-Hellekant, D.V.M., Ph.D.
    Natural history of mammary cancer development; identification of molecular and cellular targets of tamoxifen chemoprevention; role of developmental genes in breast carcinogenesis; anticancer gene therapy and utility of mesenchymal stem cells; mouse modeling of cancer to study novel therapeutic and preventive drugs.


    Deepali Sachdev, Ph.D.
    Regulation of breast cancer biology by the insulin-like growth factors (IGFs) and the IGF-1 receptor

    AHCMCC2 - Image - Jill Siegfried -70x80

    Jill Siegfried, Ph.D.
    Role of growth factors and hormones in the development and growth of lung cancer and the effects of these cytokines on control of tumor growth, their role in risk for cancer, and their signaling pathways; current focus is on estrogen, progesterone, EGF peptides, and hepatocyte growth factor.


    Jeffrey Simon, Ph.D.
    Animal development; control of gene expression; chromatin mechanisms; the role of EZH2 gene in mammary development; epigenetic alterations that cause cancer

    Mahendra Singh, Ph.D.
    The role of adhesion signaling proteins in modulating the effects of small molecule inhibitors including Minnelide; mechanisms underlying tumorigenesis and drug resistance

    AHCMCC2 - Image - Keith Skubitz -70x80

    Keith Skubitz, M.D.
    Drug development and clinical trials, including the use of genomics to identify new drug targets and predict disease outcome 

    Wagner_Carston R

    Carston  Wagner, PhD.
    Rational design of novel anti-cancer therapeutics and nanotechnology based drug delivery systems by employing medicinal organic synthesis, immunology protein engineering, biochemistry and molecular modelling; Characterization of arylamine amine carcinogen metabolizing enzymes


    Da-Qing Yang, Ph.D.
    Signal transduction of ATM protein kianses in response to insulin and metformin in both diabetes and cancer; mechanisms of tumor suppressor gene function and cancer development, specifically regulation of p53 induction in response to DNA damage.


    Douglas Yee, M.D.
    Understanding the contribution of insulin-like growth factor (IFG) action to the breast cancer malignant phenotype; experimental new therapies for breast cancer.


    David Zarkower, Ph.D.
    DM domain gene function and role in human disease, including testicular cancer.

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  • Last modified on March 29, 2016