Professor of Pharmacology
Greehey Distinguished Chair in Targeted Molecular Therapeutics - CTRC/UTHSCSA
Ph.D., Medical University of South Carolina
drug discovery, breast cancer, natural products, microtubule targeting agents, pediatric cancers
Our research is dedicated to the discovery of more effective therapies for the treatment of cancer, primarily breast cancer. There are several aspects to our work including drug discovery, identification of the mechanisms of drug action, the nature of drug resistance, identifying rational drug combinations and elucidation of the signaling pathways by which microtubule targeting agents elicit their effects.
We conduct a drug discovery program to identify new anticancer agents from natural products and from small molecule chemical libraries. With collaborators all over the world we evaluate extracts and compounds from fungi and plants to identify new drug leads. Our drug discovery efforts are focused on identifying new agents and targets for the treatment of triple negative breast cancer, pediatric solid tumors and oral cancer. We are screening fungal extracts from the Cichewicz laboratory and plant extracts form the National Cancer Institute.
After discovering new agents we identify their molecular mechanisms of action. This includes identifying the cellular binding site and how they work to impact cancer cell survival. We are currently investigating new microtubule stabilizers, microtubule destabilizing agents and inhibitors of diverse signaling pathways
Microtubule targeting drugs are some of the most effective used in cancer therapy, but the signaling pathways that lead from inhibition of microtubule dependent events to anticancer efficacy are only now being elucidated. We are identifying how specific pathways are interrupted by distinct microtubule targeting agents to allow for more focused individualized patient therapies in the future.