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

  • Increased risk of major adverse cardiac events after the later surgery persists for one year.Carla HolcombA patient who has noncardiac surgery sometime after a stent is put into a coronary artery to open up a blockage has a greater risk for major adverse cardiac events (MACE) following the operation, but the optimal time to delay such elective surgery after stenting was not known. In a study of more than 28,000 patient records, first author Carla Holcomb,...

  • UAB School of Public Health research published in the journal Obesity shows seeing, hearing and smelling others’ eating foods can cause low birthweight in offspring among mice.While studies have shown that what a mother eats during pregnancy can affect her offspring, it could be that what she sees others eating can also affect her offspring. New research from the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health explores the influence it has in a...

UAB Research News

  • Pioneering cancer research at UAB will be presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting.A team of physician-scientists and researchers from the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center will present some of the latest advances in cancer research to more than 25,000 oncology professionals during the 51st annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncologyin Chicago May 29-June 2, 2015.  UAB Cancer Center investigators are authors on more than 50 abstracts accepted by ASCO for the...

  • Two children die each day in the United States as a result of poisoning. UAB child safety expert David Schwebel, Ph.D., works to prevent this from occurring.Click to enlargeThe summer months often mean more time spent at home for kids. While the break from the books can be enjoyable, one University of Alabama at Birmingham child safety expert says there is one important lesson both children and parents still need to learn: how to prevent...