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                    C3-Pancreatic Cancer Research Group
                                              Investigator List
                                                                  (In alphabetical order)
 
 
 
 
 
 
John R. Cashman
Title: President and Founder
Affiliation: Human BioMolecular Research Institute
Department: n/a
Location: 5310 Eastgate Mall San Diego, CA 92121
Phone: 858-458-9305
Brief summary of ongoing work/ Interest in pancreatic cancer research:  Hit to Lead refinement of cancer pathway-specific small molecule inhibitors. Drug Development of new small molecules for oncology including pancreatic cancer.  We are a fully functional drug discovery laboratory with capability for target identification, hit identification and hit to lead refinement, drug candidate in vitro and in vivo functional and efficacy preclinical work including xenografts, PK, ADME and toxicology studies. 
Additional email: n/a
Additional phone: n/a
 
Jiongjia Cheng
Title: Postdoctoral Researcher
Affiliation: Human BioMolecular Research Institute
Department: Biology
Location: 5310 Eastgate Mall San Diego, CA 92121
Phone: 858-458-9305
Brief summary of ongoing work/ Interest in pancreatic cancer research: My ongoing projects are focused on development of drug-like compounds for in vivo applications, including new approaches to solving fundamental problems associated with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomal (PDAC). This work addresses the overarching challenge of developing a new, non-toxic compound for pancreatic cancer and also addresses the challenges of life-threatening drug toxicity and low efficacy observed with currently used clinical agents. My work investigates a paradigm-changing non-toxic DNA damage pathway inhibitor that shows potent anti-cancer activity against PDAC both in vitro and in vivo.
Additional email: n/a
Additional phone: n/a
 
Cosimo Commisso
Title: Assistant Professor
Affiliation: Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute
Department: Cancer Metabolism and Signaling Networks Program
Location: 10901 N Torrey Pines Rd. La Jolla, CA 92037
Phone: 858-795-5171
Brief summary of ongoing work/ Interest in pancreatic cancer research:  Research in the Commisso Lab is focused on biological discoveries that have the potential to lead to novel therapeutic strategies for cancer. Of particular interest to our laboratory are Ras-driven cancers, such as pancreatic cancer, which are extremely aggressive and are in urgent need of new and innovative therapies. The biological process that we study in the lab is called macropinocytosis, a fluid-phase form of bulk endocytic uptake, which we have linked to cancer cell metabolism in Ras-mutated tumors.
Additional email: n/a
Additional phone: n/a
 
Duc S. Dong
Title: Assistant Professor
Affiliation: Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute
Department: Human Genetics
Location: 10901 N Torrey Pines Rd. La Jolla, CA 92037
Phone: 858-795-5258
Brief summary of ongoing work/ Interest in pancreatic cancer research:  Pancreatic cell lineage specification, maintenance, neoplasia, and reprogramming using the zebrafish vertebrate model.
Additional email: n/a
Additional phone: n/a
 
Paul A. Insel
Title: Professor of Pharmacology & Medicine
Affiliation: UC San Diego       
Department: Pharmacology & Medicine
Website: n/a
Location: UCSD Dept of Pharmacology MC 0636, 9500 Gilman Drive La Jolla, CA 92093
Phone: 858-534-2295
Brief summary of ongoing work/ Interest in pancreatic cancer research:  GPCR expression and action in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) cells and in cells of the tumor microenvironment, in particular pancreatic cancer-associated fibroblasts. We are testing the hypothesis that certain GPCRs are potential therapeutic targets in PDAC cells and in cells of the PDAC microenvironment.
Additional email: mkissel@ucsd.edu
Additional phone: n/a
 
Pamela Itkin-Ansari
Title: Adjunct Assistant Professor
Affiliation: Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute
Department: Development, Aging, and Regeneration Program
Location: 10901 N Torrey Pines Rd. La Jolla, CA 92037
Phone:  858-646-3100 x3428
Brief summary of ongoing work/ Interest in pancreatic cancer research:  Research is directed toward understanding diseases of the human pancreas. She has studied the signaling pathways controlling growth and differentiation in the pancreas in order to elucidate mechanisms leading to pancreatic pathogenesis. The lab is developing a cell based therapy for diabetes which will not require immunosuppression. New research in the lab has identified a signaling pathway controlling pancreatic cancer cell growth which is yielding new potential targets for drug discovery for pancreatic cancer.
Additional email: n/a
Additional phone: n/a
 
Richard L. Klemke
Title: Professor
Affiliation: UC San Diego
Department: Pathology
Location: 9500 Gilman Drive La Jolla, CA 92093
Phone: 858-822-5610
Brief summary of ongoing work/ Interest in pancreatic cancer research:  My laboratory is interested in understanding the signal transduction networks that control PDAC cell proliferation, survival, and metastasis.  We are currently studying how mutated KRas highjacks the protein synthesis machinery to control ERK, Akt, RhoA/ROCK2 signaling, which mediate PDAC cell proliferation, migration, and metastasis.  We are also studying how pseudopodium-enriched atypical kinase 1 (PEAK1) controls the cytoskeleton of PDAC cells to mediate growth, stemness, and metastasis in response to KRas activation. Our studies utilize a combination of molecular biology and proteomics along with unique animal models of tumor formation and dissemination, including zebrafish xenografts, the chicken CAM assay, and orthotopic transplantation methods.  
Additional email: grryan@ucsd.edu (Graham Ryan)
Additional phone: n/a
 
Andrew M. Lowy
Title: Professor of Surgery
Affiliation: UC San Diego 
Department: Chief, Division of Surgical Oncology
Location: Moores Cancer Center 3855 Health Sciences Drive La Jolla, CA 92093-0987
Phone: 858-822-2124
Brief summary of ongoing work/ Interest in pancreatic cancer research:  Recognized worldwide for his expertise in the surgical treatment of pancreatic cancer and for investigating novel cancer treatments which incorporate surgery and chemotherapy to treat patients with advanced cancer that has spread to the abdomen. At UC San Diego, Lowy will launch a multidisciplinary surgical program dedicated to the comprehensive treatment of cancer with a focus on the pancreas and colon.
Additional email: n/a
Additional phone: n/a
 
Shaoying (Kathy) Lu
Title: Project Scientist
Affiliation: UC San Diego
Department: Bioengineering
Location:  SERF 255, UCSD-IEM, 9500 Gilman Dr. La Jolla, CA 92093-0435
Phone: 858-822-4502
Brief summary of ongoing work/ Interest in pancreatic cancer research:  I am working on image-driven bioinformatics, with applications on live cell imaging for molecular transport, activation, and interactions. We develop computational algorithms and statistical inference methods for the high throughput analysis of biological data, with applications in cancer biology and epigenetic modifications in pancreatic cancer cells. We also develop optimization algorithms and theory with partial differential equation constraints, to investigate molecular transport, diffusion, and interactions in cancer cells.
Additional email: n/a
Additional phone: n/a
 
Karl J. Okolotowicz
Title: Associate Scientist
Affiliation: Human BioMolecular Research Institute
Department: n/a
Location: 5310 Eastgate Mall San Diego, CA 92121
Phone: 858-458-9305
Brief summary of ongoing work/ Interest in pancreatic cancer research: 
Hit to Lead refinement and in vitro and in vivo assessment of cancer pathway-specific small molecule inhibitors. Drug Development of new small molecules for oncology specifically: pancreatic cancer. We are a fully functional drug discovery laboratory with medicinal chemistry and bioanalytical capability for hit to lead refinement, as well as in vitro and in vivo preclinical work including PK, ADME and toxicology studies. Animal model xenograft efficacy studies are ongoing.
Additional email: n/a
Additional phone: n/a
 
George A. Perdrizet
Title: Professor
Affiliation: UC San Diego
Department: Emergency Medicine
Website: n/a
Location: Hillcrest Hospital, 200 W. Arbor St. San Diego, CA 92103
Phone: 619-543-7342
Brief summary of ongoing work/ Interest in pancreatic cancer research:  Tumor immunology – enhancement of anti-tumor immune responses using oxygen therapy.  Establishing a first of its kind Core Facility for translational research in Hyperbaric oxygen therapy at the UC San Diego CTRI facility in La Jolla.  Aim is to reverse intra-tumor hypoxia as adjunctive therapy in the setting of pancreatic cancer.
Additional email: n/a
Additional phone: n/a
 
Adam D. Richardson
Title: Director, Cancer Metabolism
Affiliation: Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute 
Department: Cancer Metab & Sig Networks
Location: 10901 N Torrey Pines Rd. La Jolla, CA 92037
Phone: 858-795-5136
Brief summary of ongoing work/ Interest in pancreatic cancer research:  Our research focuses on human tumor metabolism with the dual goals of therapeutic discovery and technology development. By supplying 13C-labled metabolic substrates (such as glucose, glutamine, and lactate) to living cells, we are able to then analyze isotopomer patterns of key metabolites by mass spectrometry. This data yields information on both pathway activities and metabolite pool sizes. In particular, we are able to determine activity rates of glycolysis, the pentose phosphate pathway, glutaminolysis, the TCA cycle, fatty acid biosynthesis and oxidation, and the biosynthesis of most non-essential amino acids. In addition, we have the ability to perform a wide range of complementary assays, such as large scale unbiased metabolite profiling by LC/MS, rapid substrate profiling by YSI analyzer, bioenergetic analysis (NAD(P)H and ATP/ADP/AMP) by HPLC and respiratory capacity by Seahorse XF.
Additional email: adrphd@gmail.com
Additional phone: 858-692-9524
 
Maike Sander
Title: Professor
Affiliation: UC San Diego
Department: Pediatrics and Cellular & Molecular Medicine
Location: Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine La Jolla, CA 92037
Phone: 858-246-0843
Brief summary of ongoing work/ Interest in pancreatic cancer research: There is an unquestionable urgent need to further improve our understanding of the molecular events leading to pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) and to identify strategies for diagnosing and treating this disease. To gain a better understanding of this type of cancer, our lab has developed unique genetic mouse models that recapitulate the pathological features of human PDAC. Using genomic approaches to compare transformed and non-transformed cell populations, our laboratory aims to identify the molecular changes that are associated with the initiation of PDAC and determine whether the regulatory pathways that initiate PDAC in mice also play a role in the pathogenesis of PDAC in humans. Results from our studies will identify novel diagnostic markers as well as reveal novel pathways to target for drug discovery.
Additional email:  n/a
Additional phone: n/a
 
Stephen P. Schoenberger
Title: Professor
Affiliation: La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology
Department: Center for the Immunobiology of Cancer
Location: 9420 Athena Circle La Jolla, CA 92037
Phone: 760-815-1798 (cell)
Email: sps@lji.org
Brief summary of ongoing work/ Interest in pancreatic cancer research:  My laboratory performs exome-guided neoantigen discovery in solid cancers and develops translational models of individualized precision immunotherapy.
Additional email: czeiser@lji.org (Cassidy Zeiser)​ 
Additional phone: n/a 

 

 
David A. Scott
Title: Staff Scientist
Affiliation:  Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute
Department: Osterman Lab/ Cancer Metabolism Core
Website: n/a
Location: 10901 N Torrey Pines Rd. La Jolla, CA 92037
Phone: 858-646-3100 x3941
Brief summary of ongoing work/ Interest in pancreatic cancer research:  Research interests in cancer metabolism, currently mainly in melanoma. I am interested in applying the methodology for metabolic analysis we have developed to pancreatic cancer
Additional email: n/a
Additional phone: n/a
 
Mara H. Sherman
Title: Postdoc
Affiliation: Salk Institute
Department: Gene Expression Laboratory
Website: n/a
Location: 10010 N. Torrey Pines Road, Gene Expression Laboratory La Jolla, CA 92037
Phone: 858-453-4100 x1301
Brief summary of ongoing work/ Interest in pancreatic cancer research:  Tumor-stroma interactions, paracrine regulation of cancer metabolism
Additional email: n/a
Additional phone: n/a
 
Roger Y. Tsien
Title: Professor and HHMI Investigator
Affiliation: UC San Diego       
Department: Pharmacology; Chemistry & Biochemistry
Location: 310 George Palade Laboratories 0647, 9500 Gilman Drive La Jolla, CA 92093-0647
Phone: 541-687-8384
Brief summary of ongoing work/ Interest in pancreatic cancer research:  Early detection via magnetic resonance imaging, fluorescence-guided surgery, and radiation therapy, particularly with targeted radiosensitizers.
Additional email: n/a
Additional phone: n/a
 
Geoffrey M. Wahl
Title: Professor
Affiliation: The Salk Institute
Department: Gene Expression Laboratory
Website: wahl.salk.edu
Location: 10010 North Torrey Pines Rd. La Jolla, CA 92037
Phone: 858-453-4100 ext 1255
Brief summary of ongoing work/ Interest in pancreatic cancer research:  We are interested in developing therapies that target both the epithelial and stromal components of pancreatic cancer.  We are interested in how the p53 pathway contributes pancreatic cancer development in both cellular compartments.  As an example, we have shown that we can activate p53 in activated stellate cells and cause them to reprogram into quiescent, lipid storing cells.  We are testing whether this reprogramming affects tumor growth, and enhances drug delivery to increase cancer cell killing.  We are also interested in Ras protein activation in pancreatic cancer.  We have developed a powerful protein interaction technology that rapidly enables us to determine whether Ras has dimerized and is membrane associated.  We are using this to identify Ras regulators, and to screen for Ras antagonists.
Additional email: n/a
Additional phone: n/a
 
Yingxiao Wang
Title: Associate Professor
Affiliation: Bioengineering, Institute of Engineering in Medicine
Department: Bioengineering
Location: SERF 255, 9500 Gilman Drive La Jolla, CA 92093-0435
Phone: 858-822-4502
Brief summary of ongoing work/ Interest in pancreatic cancer research:  The primary focus of my research is to develop molecular biosensors based on fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) to visualize signaling molecules and hierarchies in live cells at subcellular compartments. Micro/nano-fabrication technologies, bio-photonics, and biochemical assays will be integrated with live cell imaging technology to apply these biosensors for the study of molecular mechanisms by which cells interact with their physical/biochemical microenvironment and neighbors in cancer model systems, e.g. pancreatic tumor development.
Additional email: kalu@eng.ucsd.edu (Kathy Shaoying Lu)
Additional phone: n/a