School of Medicine


Cancer Biology

These research faculty have laboratories in the Stanley S. Scott Cancer Center
in the Clinical Sciences Research Building [map].

Dr. Hari K Koul, M.Sc., PhD, FACN, FASN (
Professor and Interim Chairman
Associate Director, Stanley S. Scott Cancer Center
We are investigating:
a) the structure and function of Prostate Derived Ets Transcription factor (PDEF/ SPDEF) in prostate and breast cancer progression, therapy resistance and cancer health disparities. Current studies are identifying the molecular mechanisms by which PDEF regulates gene expression with specific emphasis on identification of proteins that interact with PDEF using proteomics approaches. The lab is also investigating regulation of PDEF expression with special emphasis on YY1, EZH2 and DNMT.
b) Role of deregulated protein synthesis in solid tumors with special emphasis on the regulation of cap-dependent translation by EIF4G.
c) Developing small molecular therapeutics using a library of compounds based on tetrandrine and its derivatives.
d) Biology of prostate and breast cancer disparities in African American Subjects, with special emphasis on transcription factors and epigenetic drivers.

Dr. Suresh Alahari (
Fred G. Brazda Professor
Performs research investigating the role of Nischarin in breast tumor progression. Current studies are identifying proteins that interact with Nischarin in breast cancer cells using proteomics as well as yeast two-hybrid approaches. A detailed understanding of the mechanistic basis of tumor cell migration and invasion can significantly advance the development of new therapeutics that stop tumor growth and metastasis. Click here to learn more about Dr. Alahari's research.

Dr. Arthur L. Haas (
Roland Coulson Professor
Ubiquitin conjugation targets proteins for degradation. Ubiquitin conjugation is a fundamental cellular process that has been implicated in gene regulation, DNA repair, stress response, cell cycle progression, various forms of muscle atrophy, and Alzheimers dementia. Dr. Haas has identified a second constitutive system within cells that is parallel but distinct from ubiquitin in which the 15 kDa interferon-like protein ISG15/UCRP is conjugated to a smaller subset of intracellular targets. The conjugation of ISG15 to intracellular targets functions to regulate protein-protein interactions. The Haas laboratory is interested in characterization of the enzymes involved in the respective conjugation reactions; structure-function analysis of these enzymes; and examining the roles of ubiquitin and ISG15 conjugation in cellular regulation. Click here to learn more about Dr. Haas's research.

Dr. Wayne V. Vedeckis (
Professor Emeritus
Steroid hormone action; structure, function, and genomic interactions of glucocorticoid receptor (GR) proteins; steroid hormone regulation of proto-oncogene expression and cellular proliferation. Dr. Vedeckis' lab has found a previously undescribed promoter (1B) that appears to be controlled predominantly by three Yin Yang 1 transcription factor binding sites, and which controls the synthesis of an untranslated exon 1B. They have also discovered an entirely new sequence, designated the 1A promoter and untranslated exon upstream of the GR coding sequence. The discovery of this new GR promoter and exon has significant medical relevance. Since there is an increase in circulating lymphoblast cells in leukemia patients, it is hoped that reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) of these sequences can be used to diagnose new leukemia patients and (more importantly) provide an early detection tool for the onset of relapse in treated patients. Furthermore, many leukemias are resistant to glucocorticoid therapy upon relapse. By characterizing the GR 1A promoter, the lab hopes to find that certain naturally occurring biologically active substances (e.g., lymphokines and cytokines) can cause an increase in GR 1A promoter activity. A rational combined treatment with these substances may elevate GR enough in steroid-resistant patients to convert them to the hormone-sensitive phenotype. This would improve the therapeutic response and could lead to a minimization of side effects associated with the cytotoxic chemotherapeutic regimens that are now in use. Click here to learn more about Dr. Vedeckis' research.

Dr. Edward N. Wojcik (
Associate Professor
Extra centrosomes are commonly seen in cancer cells where they have been shown to contribute to genetic instability. The biochemical pathway that regulates centrosome duplication is poorly understood. Dr. Wojcik is using both genetic and biochemical analyses of specific proteins involved in centrosome duplication to learn more about centrosome and cytoskeletal regulation during cell division. His laboratory performs molecular and genetic analyses of Drosophila melanogaster coupled with biochemical and biophysical analysis of protein function. Click here to learn more about Dr. Wojcik's research.