Judith Varner

Professor In Residence, Moores Cancer Center, UC San Diego

The research in my lab focuses on identifying the common molecular mechanisms regulating cellular migration and survival during in vivo invasion such as occurs during angiogenesis, fibrosis and tumor cell metastasis. In particular, we study how integrins, such as integrin a5b1, positively and negatively influence signal transduction to regulate invasion and survival. We are currently unraveling the important roles of Protein Kinase A and heterotrimeric G proteins during integrin regulated cell migration and during angiogenesis, fibrosis and metastasis. We study the effect of integrin ligation on tyrosine and serine phosphorylation, enzyme activity and protein associations and evaluate novel protein-protein interactions on the cellular level using biochemistry and immunocytochemistry techniques. An important aspect of our research is the translation of our basic research findings to practical applications for the treatment of human diseases. For example, we have developed novel strategies to inhibit angiogenesis for the treatment of cancer and arthritis that are currently entering clinical trials. Some of our recent publications profiling our work on the important role of integrins and protein kinase A in regulating cell migration and survival during angiogenesis include: Bakre, M., Zhu, Y., Yin, H., Burton, D., Terkeltaub, R. Deftos, L. and Varner, J. (2002) “Parathyroid hormone related peptide is a naturally occurring, protein kinase A-dependent angiogenesis inhibitor,” Nature Med. 8: 995-1003 and Kim, S., Bakre, M. Yin, H., and Varner, J.A. (2002) “Inhibition of Endothelial Cell Survival and Angiogenesis by Protein Kinase A,” J. Clin. Invest , 110, 933-941.