• Brett Colson, PhD

    Deciphering the Structural Basis for Muscle Contraction at the Molecular Level

  • Noel Warfel, PhD

    Modeling the Effects of Hypoxia on Cancer Cells and Tumor Angiogenesis

  • Cynthia Miranti, PhD

    Targeting the Extracellular Matrix and Tumor Microenvironment

  • Nathan Ellis, PhD

    Aberrant DNA Replication and Genomic Instability

  • Curtis Thorne, PhD

    Discovering Signals Controlling Cell Fate of Regenerative Tissues

  • Casey Romanoski, PhD

    Systems Genetics Approaches to Identify Mechanisms of Complex Diseases


    An Established Leader in Cutting-edge Research

  • Jean Wilson, PhD

    Cell biology of barrier function in inflammatory bowel diseases

  • Tom Doetschman, PhD

    Synergistic Activities of TGFbeta Deficiency and the Gut Microbiome in Colon Cancer

  • Julie Ledford, PhD

    Immunological Roles of Endogenous Lung Proteins


    A Thriving Environment for Biomedical Discovery

  • Keith Maggert, PhD

    Understanding the Origins of Genome Instability

  • Gus Mouneimne, PhD

    Understanding How Cytoskeletal Architecture Regulates Cancer Metastasis

  • Clark Lantz, PhD

    Understanding How Early Life Environmental Exposures Leads to Adult Disease

  • Carol Gregorio, PhD

    Cytoskeletal Proteins in Striated Muscle Health and Disease


Message from the Chair

The mission of the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine (CMM) is to provide pre- and post-doctoral, medical and graduate education in an interdisciplinary environment through research activities, to advance knowledge of biological structure as related to function and disease from the molecular level to the whole organism.


Maggert Lab publishes heterochromatin study in PNAS (September 16, 2019)

A majority of the human genome consists elements called transposable elements – the fossils of evolutionary battles between ancient viruses and their human hosts. The human genome silences these elements by creating a specialized structure called heterochromatin on top of them. Dr. Keith Maggert and graduate student Farah Bughio's study in PNAS shows that heterochromatin is not as stable and reliable a protector as was previously thought, and instead turns on and off randomly and repeatedly throughout life, allowing transposable elements the freedom to once again move around the genome and cause damage.  More information can be found here: PMID 31527269

Dr. Ledford awarded NHLBI grant to study the link between airway infections and obstructive lung disease (September 4, 2019)

Asthma and COPD are the most commonly diagnosed chronic lung diseases in the United States. While it is now recognized that a percentage of severe asthmatics develop fixed airway obstruction, little is known pertaining to the basic underlying mechanisms of this progression. Julie Ledford, PhD and her research team will examine the role of club cell secreted protein (CC16) in the context of airway infection as a previously overlooked link in understanding this progression. These studies may provide a novel therapeutic approach for treating individuals with low circulating CC16 in order to prevent lung function decline over time.

Drs. Cress and Rogers awarded $2.8 million Special Initiatives Provocative Questions Grant (August 27, 2019)

Anne Cress, PhD, and Gregory Rogers, PhD, received the prestigious NCI Provocative Questions Initiative grant to study molecular mechanisms of genomic alterations that contribute to early stages of prostate cancer initiation and progression.  As co-PIs of this multi-PI (MPI) award, they lead an investigative team that includes Drs. Noel Warfel and Ray Nagle to investigate a link between hypoxia and organelle instability.

Thorne Lab Reconciles Scientific Standoff in Colon Cancer Research (July 30, 2019)

Curtis Thorne, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, and doctoral student Carly R. Cabel recently undertook an ambitious study to determine whether therapeutic targeting of LRP6 – a cell-surface receptor protein that mediates cell growth of its surrounding tissue environment - was a suitable treatment strategy for colon cancer, thus challenging the current scientific dogma and approaches to patient care.  The results of Dr. Thorne and Ms. Cabel's experiments were published in a letter in the June 2019 issue of Developmental Cell.  Read more here.  PMID: 31211991

Cress Lab publishes in Cancer Research (July 26, 2019)

Anne Cress, PhD and her lab - in collaboration with two other CMM faculty members (Cindy Miranti, PhD and Noel Warfel, PhD) and the gene editing core service in the UA Cancer Center (led by Nathan Ellis, PhD) - found that tumors use a specific modification of an adhesion receptor called α6 integrin to generate invasive aggressive networks.  The surprising finding was that gene editing of a specific extracellular region, not required for normal tissue function, can generate a new biophysical cancer phenotype unable to invade the structured muscle.  PMID: 31337652

Rogers Lab publishes study in Developmental Cell (May 28, 2019)

John Ryniawec (GPMM student), Dan Buster, PhD, Gregory Rogers, PhD and their collaborators recently published a new study in the journal Developmental Cell.  They show a new mechanism linking the centrosome biogenesis machinery with the mitotic spindle orientation apparatus in Drosophila stem cells.  Their work also reveals a new role for the kinase Polo-like kinase 4 in promoting centrosome disassembly.  More information can be found here: PMID: 31130353


Upcoming Events

CMM Seminar Series - Lauren Schultz, PhD Candidate
Thursday 12:00pm
HSIB 880

CMM Seminar Series - Dr. John Brognard
Thursday 12:00pm
HSIB 880

RCR Fall Workshop: Animal Research: Ethical & Regulatory Considerations
Thursday 2:00pm to 3:30pm

Date: 10/3/19

Time: 2 - 3:30 pm

Location: Leon Levy Cancer Center 2920 (Tucson), BSBP E112 (Phoenix)

CMM Seminar Series - Dr. GW Gant Luxton
Thursday 12:00pm
HSIB 880

CMM Seminar Series - Dr. Nathan Salomonas
Thursday 12:00pm
HSIB 880


Drs. Ledford and Kraft win $10K UA Shark Tank Prize

Drs. Julie Ledford, PhD (left) and Monica Kraft, MD (right) win the $10,000 prize during UA Research Day's ‘Shark Tank’ Event for their pitch on a new, inhaled therapeutic for the treatment of asthma and potentially even COPD, cystic fibrosis and pneumonia.