Curtis Thorne, PhD

Assistant Professor, Cellular and Molecular Medicine
Assistant Professor, BIO5 Institute
Member, University of Arizona Cancer Center
Member, Steele Children's Research Center
Research Interests: 

Our work utilizes the fascinating characteristics of intestinal stem cells to address fundamental questions in cell and cancer biology: How do cells identify, measure, and respond to each other and to their environment? What are the signals that control the renewal and regeneration of tissues? How do these signals go wrong in cancer? Our long-term goal is to uncover an underlying circuit theory behind these behaviors – a set of predictive principles that tell us how complex functionality arises from simpler biological components. We have a particular interest in kinase networks that regulate healthy tissue homeostasis and become damaged in cancer. Through our quantitative high-throughput imaging and drug discovery efforts, we are finding new ways to understand and repair these networks.

Molecular Medicine Grad Program: 



Tomchaney, M., M. Contoli, J. Mayo, S. Baraldo, S. Li, C. R. Cabel, D. A. Bull, S. Lick, J. Malo, S. Knoper, et al., "Paradoxical effects of cigarette smoke and COPD on SARS-CoV-2 infection and disease.", BMC Pulm Med, vol. 21, issue 1, pp. 275, 2021 Aug 23. PMCID: PMC8381712  PMID: 34425811


Cabel, C. R., E. Alizadeh, D. J. Robbins, Y. Ahmed, E. Lee, and C. A. Thorne, "Single-Cell Analyses Confirm the Critical Role of LRP6 for Wnt Signaling in APC-Deficient Cells.", Dev Cell, vol. 49, issue 6, pp. 827-828, 2019 06 17. PMCID: PMC6613640  PMID: 31211991


Miyata, N., L. L. Morris, Q. Chen, C. Thorne, A. Singla, W. Zhu, M. Winter, S. D. Melton, H. Li, L. Sifuentes-Dominguez, et al., "Microbial Sensing by Intestinal Myeloid Cells Controls Carcinogenesis and Epithelial Differentiation.", Cell Rep, vol. 24, issue 9, pp. 2342-2355, 2018 Aug 28. PMCID: PMC6177233  PMID: 30157428
Thorne, C. A., I. W. Chen, L. E. Sanman, M. H. Cobb, L. F. Wu, and S. J. Altschuler, "Enteroid Monolayers Reveal an Autonomous WNT and BMP Circuit Controlling Intestinal Epithelial Growth and Organization.", Dev Cell, vol. 44, issue 5, pp. 624-633.e4, 2018 03 12. PMCID: PMC5849535  PMID: 29503158


Coster, A. D., C. A. Thorne, L. F. Wu, and S. J. Altschuler, "Examining Crosstalk among Transforming Growth Factor β, Bone Morphogenetic Protein, and Wnt Pathways.", J Biol Chem, vol. 292, issue 1, pp. 244-250, 2017 Jan 06. PMCID: PMC5217683  PMID: 27895117
Coate, K. C., G. Hernandez, C. A. Thorne, S. Sun, T. D. V. Le, K. Vale, S. A. Kliewer, and D. J. Mangelsdorf, "FGF21 Is an Exocrine Pancreas Secretagogue.", Cell Metab, vol. 25, issue 2, pp. 472-480, 2017 Feb 07. PMCID: PMC5299054  PMID: 28089565
Li, B., D. Orton, L. R. Neitzel, L. Astudillo, C. Shen, J. Long, X. Chen, K. C. Kirkbride, T. Doundoulakis, M. L. Guerra, et al., "Differential abundance of CK1α provides selectivity for pharmacological CK1α activators to target WNT-dependent tumors.", Sci Signal, vol. 10, issue 485, 2017 Jun 27. PMID: 28655862


Wang, Z., O. Tacchelly-Benites, E. Yang, C. A. Thorne, H. Nojima, E. Lee, and Y. Ahmed, "Wnt/Wingless Pathway Activation Is Promoted by a Critical Threshold of Axin Maintained by the Tumor Suppressor APC and the ADP-Ribose Polymerase Tankyrase.", Genetics, vol. 203, issue 1, pp. 269-81, 2016 05. PMCID: PMC4858779  PMID: 26975665


Thorne, C. A., C. Wichaidit, A. D. Coster, B. A. Posner, L. F. Wu, and S. J. Altschuler, "GSK-3 modulates cellular responses to a broad spectrum of kinase inhibitors.", Nat Chem Biol, vol. 11, issue 1, pp. 58-63, 2015 Jan. PMCID: PMC4270937  PMID: 25402767
Karra, A. S., C. A. Taylor, C. A. Thorne, and M. H. Cobb, "A Kinase Divided.", Cancer Cell, vol. 28, issue 2, pp. 145-7, 2015 Aug 10. PMID: 26267529


Saito-Diaz, K., T. W. Chen, X. Wang, C. A. Thorne, H. A. Wallace, A. Page-McCaw, and E. Lee, "The way Wnt works: components and mechanism.", Growth Factors, vol. 31, issue 1, pp. 1-31, 2013 Feb. PMCID: PMC3697919  PMID: 23256519
Hao, J., A. Ao, L. Zhou, C. K. Murphy, A. Y. Frist, J. J. Keel, C. A. Thorne, K. Kim, E. Lee, and C. C. Hong, "Selective small molecule targeting β-catenin function discovered by in vivo chemical genetic screen.", Cell Rep, vol. 4, issue 5, pp. 898-904, 2013 Sep 12. PMCID: PMC3923627  PMID: 24012757


Hang, B. I., C. A. Thorne, D. J. Robbins, S. S. Huppert, L. A. Lee, and E. Lee, "Screening for small molecule inhibitors of embryonic pathways: sometimes you gotta crack a few eggs.", Bioorg Med Chem, vol. 20, issue 6, pp. 1869-77, 2012 Mar 15. PMCID: PMC3298638  PMID: 22261025


Thorne, C. A., B. LaFleur, M. Lewis, A. J. Hanson, K. K. Jernigan, D. C. Weaver, K. A. Huppert, T. W. Chen, C. Wichaidit, C. S. Cselenyi, et al., "A biochemical screen for identification of small-molecule regulators of the Wnt pathway using Xenopus egg extracts.", J Biomol Screen, vol. 16, issue 9, pp. 995-1006, 2011 Oct. PMCID: PMC3694444  PMID: 21859680
Ni, T. T., E. J. Rellinger, A. Mukherjee, S. Xie, L. Stephens, C. A. Thorne, K. Kim, J. Hu, E. Lee, L. Marnett, et al., "Discovering small molecules that promote cardiomyocyte generation by modulating Wnt signaling.", Chem Biol, vol. 18, issue 12, pp. 1658-68, 2011 Dec 23. PMCID: PMC3645312  PMID: 22195568


Jernigan, K. K., C. S. Cselenyi, C. A. Thorne, A. J. Hanson, E. Tahinci, N. Hajicek, W. M. Oldham, L. A. Lee, H. E. Hamm, J. R. Hepler, et al., "Gbetagamma activates GSK3 to promote LRP6-mediated beta-catenin transcriptional activity.", Sci Signal, vol. 3, issue 121, pp. ra37, 2010 May 11. PMCID: PMC3088111  PMID: 20460648
Thorne, C. A., A. J. Hanson, J. Schneider, E. Tahinci, D. Orton, C. S. Cselenyi, K. K. Jernigan, K. C. Meyers, B. I. Hang, A. G. Waterson, et al., "Small-molecule inhibition of Wnt signaling through activation of casein kinase 1α.", Nat Chem Biol, vol. 6, issue 11, pp. 829-36, 2010 Nov. PMCID: PMC3681608  PMID: 20890287
Alfaro, M. P., A. Vincent, S. Saraswati, C. A. Thorne, C. C. Hong, E. Lee, and P. P. Young, "sFRP2 suppression of bone morphogenic protein (BMP) and Wnt signaling mediates mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) self-renewal promoting engraftment and myocardial repair.", J Biol Chem, vol. 285, issue 46, pp. 35645-53, 2010 Nov 12. PMCID: PMC2975189  PMID: 20826809
Saraswati, S., M. P. Alfaro, C. A. Thorne, J. Atkinson, E. Lee, and P. P. Young, "Pyrvinium, a potent small molecule Wnt inhibitor, promotes wound repair and post-MI cardiac remodeling.", PLoS One, vol. 5, issue 11, pp. e15521, 2010 Nov 29. PMCID: PMC2993965  PMID: 21170416


Cselenyi, C. S., K. K. Jernigan, E. Tahinci, C. A. Thorne, L. A. Lee, and E. Lee, "LRP6 transduces a canonical Wnt signal independently of Axin degradation by inhibiting GSK3's phosphorylation of beta-catenin.", Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, vol. 105, issue 23, pp. 8032-7, 2008 Jun 10. PMCID: PMC2430354  PMID: 18509060


Tahinci, E., C. A. Thorne, J. L. Franklin, A. Salic, K. M. Christian, L. A. Lee, R. J. Coffey, and E. Lee, "Lrp6 is required for convergent extension during Xenopus gastrulation.", Development, vol. 134, issue 22, pp. 4095-106, 2007 Nov. PMCID: PMC4428168  PMID: 17965054


Thorne, C., and A. V. Lee, "Cross talk between estrogen receptor and IGF signaling in normal mammary gland development and breast cancer.", Breast Dis, vol. 17, pp. 105-14, 2003. PMID: 15687681