Nathan A. Ellis, PhD

Associate Professor, Cellular and Molecular Medicine
Scientific Director, Cancer Biology Research Program
Research Interests: 

Genomic Instability and Cancer Susceptibility

My career has been devoted to understanding the functional consequences of genetic variation in humans. I have worked in the human molecular genetics of X chromosome inactivation and Y chromosome-mediated sex determination, evolution and population genetics of human sex chromosomes, the molecular genetics of genomic instability and DNA repair. The current research focus of the laboratory is the relationship between genomic instability and cancer susceptibility. We are interested in both high-penetrance and low-penetrance cancer susceptibility alleles, the population genetics of the susceptibility alleles, and molecular mechanisms linking the alleles with disease susceptibility and carcinogenesis. The laboratory investigates two major areas:  Regulation of homologous recombination in human cells and Genetic analysis of colorectal cancer susceptibility

Molecular Medicine Grad Program: 



Hulur, I., E. R. Gamazon, A. D. Skol, R. M. Xicola, X. Llor, K. Onel, N. A. Ellis, and S. S. Kupfer, "Enrichment of inflammatory bowel disease and colorectal cancer risk variants in colon expression quantitative trait loci.", BMC Genomics, vol. 16, pp. 138, 2015. PMCID: PMC4351699  PMID: 25766683


Xicola, R. M., M. Gagnon, J. R. Clark, T. Carroll, W. Gao, C. Fernandez, D. Mijic, J. B. Rawson, A. Janoski, C. K. Pusatcioglu, et al., "Excess of proximal microsatellite-stable colorectal cancer in African Americans from a multiethnic study.", Clin Cancer Res, vol. 20, issue 18, pp. 4962-70, 2014 Sep 15. PMCID: PMC4167473  PMID: 25013126
Kupfer, S. S., A. D. Skol, E. Hong, A. Ludvik, R. A. Kittles, T. O. Keku, R. S. Sandler, and N. A. Ellis, "Shared and independent colorectal cancer risk alleles in TGFβ-related genes in African and European Americans.", Carcinogenesis, vol. 35, issue 9, pp. 2025-30, 2014 Sep. PMCID: PMC4146413  PMID: 24753543
Pibiri, F., R. A. Kittles, R. S. Sandler, T. O. Keku, S. S. Kupfer, R. M. Xicola, X. Llor, and N. A. Ellis, "Genetic variation in vitamin D-related genes and risk of colorectal cancer in African Americans.", Cancer Causes Control, vol. 25, issue 5, pp. 561-70, 2014 May. PMCID: PMC3978221  PMID: 24562971


Ouyang, K. J., M. K. Yagle, M. J. Matunis, and N. A. Ellis, "BLM SUMOylation regulates ssDNA accumulation at stalled replication forks.", Front Genet, vol. 4, pp. 167, 2013. PMCID: PMC3761158  PMID: 24027577