Translational Cancer Biology & Signaling

Program Leaders: Bridget Wilson, PhD, and Eric Prossnitz, PhD

Eric Prossnitz, PhD

Eric Prossnitz, PhD

Bridget Wilson, PhD

Bridget Wilson, PhD

This program's science is centered on mechanistic, translational, and clinical studies of cancer biology, focused on imaging and modeling signal transduction pathways critical for cancer etiology and progression in solid tumors and hematologic malignancies.

The specific aims of the Translational Cancer Biology & Signaling Research Program are to:

  1. characterize, image, and model cell signaling pathways in normal and cancer cells, particularly focusing on normal and mutated cell surface receptors and their closely coupled signaling partners as well as intracellular trafficking and organelle-specific contributions to carcinogenesis;
  2. investigate the contributions of cell-cell interactions and the microenvironment in cancer initiation, progression and metastasis;
  3. define the roles of the immune response and linked inflammatory processes in both solid tumors and leukemia, with a focus on therapeutic antibody strategies; and
  4. translate our discoveries to the development of therapeutic interventions against cell signaling targets and pathways, with integrated correlative science studies.

Led by Bridget Wilson, PhD and Eric Prossnitz, PhD, the Translational Cancer Biology & Signaling research program unites an outstanding team of 30 (25 full and 5 associate members) basic, translational, and clinical scientists from 3 University of New Mexico Schools and Colleges (School of Medicine, College of Pharmacy, College of Arts & Sciences) in 10 academic departments and from New Mexico’s two Department of Energy National Laboratories (Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories).

During the prior funding period from 2010 to 9/1/2014, the program's members published 344 primary articles, book chapters and reviews including high impact journals such as the Nature journals, Immunity, PNAS and BLOOD. Collaboration is extensive, with 21% overall intra-programmatic publications (with annual percentages ranging from 17-28%). Almost a quarter of these publications were inter-programmatic (overall, 25%; range 17%-26%). In 2014, year to date, intra-programmatic publications are 28% while inter-programmatic publications are 21%. Funding to the program (as of 9/1/14) is $9,159,653 in annual direct costs, of which $8,619,713 is peer-reviewed direct funding and $1,839,073 (20%) is from the NCI. A current portfolio of 30 clinical trials is led by clinician scientists in the Program, of which three are early phase investigator-initiated trials derived from Program science.

Translational Cancer Biology & Signaling Researchers

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Gynecologic Oncologist


Surgical Oncologist | Head and Neck Cancers

Medical Oncologist

Oncology Pathologist