Endowed Professor for Cancer Chemoprotection Research
Professor of Molecular Toxicology
Office: LPSC Rm 479
Departmental Web Page
Ph.D. 1986, University of Portsmouth, UK
KEYWORDS: Cancer prevention/therapeutics; histone deacetylase inhibitors; protein acetylation; DNA methylation and gene silencing; microRNAs and cancer; β-catenin/Wnt signaling; oncogenes/tumor suppressors
The current focus is on genetic and epigenetic mechanisms in cancer development. 1) Genetic basis of cancer: cultured human cancer cells and whole animal approaches, including transgenic and knockout models, are employed to examine changes in oncogenes and tumor suppressors (e.g., K-ras, β-catenin, APC), and the influence of chemoprotective agents and anticancer drug candidates. 2) Epigenetic basis of cancer: epigenetic work focuses on histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors and changes in protein acetylation, in both cancer cells and normal cells treated with dietary agents/anticancer drug candidates. Sulforaphane from broccoli, garlic organosulfur and organoselenium compounds, and a short-chain fatty acid derived from gut fermentation of dietary fiber (butyrate) inhibit HDAC activity in human cancer cells, and trigger growth arrest/apoptosis. The molecular mechanisms are pursued. To translate this work to humans, HDACs and protein acetylation changes are being examined in volunteers undergoing screening colonoscopy exams.