E50801 - Hematology and Oncology

Mentor:  Dr. Phillip Buckhaults, Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology & Oncology, The University of Alabama at Birmingham, 1824 6th Avenue South, WTI 510D, Birmingham, AL 35294-3300. Telephone:  (205) 975-3960; Email: phillip.buckhaults@gmail.com

Lab Introduction: The Cancer Genetics Lab has recently relocated to The Comprehensive Cancer Center at The University of Alabama at Birmingham, and we are actively recruiting talented, ambitious, smart, creative and motivated scientists to study genetic mechanisms that predispose African Americans to early-onset breast and colon cancer. If you are interested in genetics, genomics, epigenetics, stem cells, aging and cancer, send me an email at phillip.buckhaults@gmail.com, or stop by my office (WTI 510D) for an informal visit and scientific discussion.

Project Description: African Americans are diagnosed with breast and colon cancer at young ages more frequently than are European Americans, however, the reasons are not clear. Germline sequence variations in p53 pathway genes that are unequally distributed between people of African and European ancestry may influence the rate at which cancer-causing somatic mutations develop. We seek to functionally characterize single nucleotide polymorphisms in the TP53 and MDM2 genes, to determine how they may contribute to early-onset breast and colon cancer in African Americans. To characterize the unique somatic mutation landscapes of colon and breast cancers that develop from these different genetic backgrounds, our group uses next-gen sequencing approaches to identify novel germline variants that correlate with ethnic ancestry and age of diagnosis. To better understand the interplay between germline variants (SNPS) and cancer phenotype caused by somatic mutations, we use somatic cell knockout technology to create isogenic pairs of cell lines differing only in the polymorphic loci of interest and then biochemically and phenotypically characterize the resulting derivatives. The approach has lead to important discoveries about how a common germline variant in p53 (Pro72Arg) causes profound differences in cancer risk and longevity in humans, and points to novel therapeutic intervention strategies. Our project on African American cancer health disparities will further evaluate the germline and somatic mutation landscapes of breast and colon cancers, to uncover additional genetic differences that are associated with age of diagnosis, and functionally characterize variant alleles to establish their mechanisms of action.

Postdocs in UAB News

  • Tollefsbol will donate the $5,000 award to a graduate student award fund.A biology professor in the College of Arts and Sciences has been awarded the 2015 Caroline P. and Charles W. Ireland Prize for Scholarly Distinction as a result of the quality of his scholarship and impact on his field. Trygve Tollefsbol, Ph.D., a professor in the College of Arts and Sciences Department of Biology, is a leader in the growing field of epigenetics. Tollefsbol is...

  • The commission will present awards for 2015’s Outstanding Women and present a free lecture by leadership expert Betsy Myers.Betsy MyersSeven women will be honored as outstanding for 2015 and a renowned author will speak on leadership as the University of Alabama at Birmingham Commission on the Status of Women celebrates Women’s History Month. The UAB Commission on the Status of Women is dedicated to enhancing options for women at every stage of their educations and careers. Work-life...

UAB Research News

  • Researcher’s approach allows the phone’s weakest security component — the user — to become its strongest defender.University of Alabama at Birmingham researchers have developed simple but effective techniques to prevent sophisticated malware from secretly attacking smartphones. This new malware defense is being presented at the IEEE International Conference on Pervasive Computing and Communications, or PerCom, today in St. Louis. As mobile phones increase in functionality, they are becoming increasingly ubiquitous in everyday life. At the same time,...

  • Lisa Tamiris Becker directs a research center like no other at UAB—the Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts, which explores the meaning, context, and history of art from around the world. Get to know Birmingham’s newest cultural ambassador as she pursues artistic breakthroughs and previews upcoming exhibitions in UAB Magazine.