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Signal Transduction and Chemical Biology Research Program

The pathways that send chemical signals from the cell surface to the nucleus are major targets of genotype-driven therapies for cancer. The Signal Transduction and Chemical Biology Research Program aims to better understand how changes in tumor cells alter these signaling networks, and to identify—or create—molecules that target these pathways as potential new therapies for cancer.

RESEARCH THEMES

The Signal Transduction and Chemical Biology Research Program is organized into four groups with common research interests:

Identifying how changes in key cell cycle proteins help tumor cells escape the typical response of cell death and lead to uncontrollable growth

Finding and developing compounds that inhibit key drivers of cancer formation

Combining ‘big data’ experimental approaches to understand the changes in signaling networks that drive cancer formation

Determining how cancer-initiating stem cells continuously renew and seed distant sites to promote metastasis, and understanding the role of these cells in resistance to chemotherapies

Meet the Program Members

The Signal Transduction and Chemical Biology program, led by Ian Macara, PhD, and Stephen Fesik, PhD, is an active group of over 40 basic, translational, and clinical scientists whose goal is to understand how signaling networks control cell proliferation and function, to identify drug leads, and to develop new cancer therapeutics.

Featured Publications

Program News

September 6, 2019

The plus and minus of microtubules

Understanding the dynamic regulation of cytoskeletal microtubules may suggest new ways to treat disorders ranging from Alzheimer's disease to cancer.
August 30, 2019

A “rheostat” for cancer signals

Jason MacGurn and colleagues have characterized a “rheostat” that sets WNT pathway signaling in breast cancer cells.
May 30, 2019

Study details regulation of a multi-drug transporter

Vanderbilt University researchers have discovered how a protein pump distinguishes between chemicals that it will expel from a cell and inhibitors that block its action - findings that could guide the development of more efficient inhibitors to prevent cancer cell resistance to chemotherapy.