Marie Burdine, Ph.D.
Ph.D. – University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX
B.S.- Arkansas Tech University, Russellville, AR
Our laboratory focuses on two main areas of research 1) understanding how epigenetic proteins regulate pancreatic tumor cell response to chemotherapy and 2) identifying targets for the development of immunosuppression therapies for solid organ transplant patients.
Epigenetics plays a strong role in the development and progression of cancer, in particular pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer patients have a five year survival rate of less than 5%. This is primarily due to the highly chemoresistant nature of pancreatic cancer cells. Our research focuses on understanding how the epigenetic protein ATAD2 which is highly expressed in pancreatic cancer as well as other cancers modifies a tumor cell’s response to chemotherapy. It is our belief that understanding pathways of chemoresistance can identifying novel and beneficial targets for pancreatic cancer therapy.
Over 30,000 patients receive organ transplants each year in the US, however; hundreds of thousands of patients remain on the waiting list due to a severe organ shortage. Therefore, development of better immunosuppressants that prevent rejection of transplanted organs is critical. A thorough understanding of the immune system and proteins that regulate response to donor organs is important for improving medications. We have identified a protein, DNA-PK(cs), that functions as a master regulator of both the cellular and humoral immune systems which are responsible for acute and chronic organ rejection. Our lab has shown that inhibiting this protein in vivo can reduce rejection of transplanted donor tissue. Further analysis of the specific function of DNA-PK(cs) in the immune system is important for determining how this protein can be targeted for other immune-dependent diseases including cancer and autoimmune diseases.
Complete List of Published Work in My Bibliography