Barbara Hoffman, PhD
Professor, Medical Genetics and Molecular Biochemistry
Professor, Fels Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Biology
- Contact Information
- About Me
The overarching theme of my laboratory is to understand how normal cells are converted to cancer cells, using both leukemia and breast cancer as model systems. For much of my scientific career I focused on hematopoiesis and leukemia as a paradigm for studying malignancy; and for the last ten years have incorporated breast carcinogenesis into my research. My lab studies regulation of proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis using both normal and leukemic/cancer cells, including cell lines, animal models and primary human cells.
Extensive analysis has been done of both positive and negative regulators of myeloid differentiation, to understand normal hematopoiesis as well as how blocks in differentiation and apoptosis participate in the initiation and progression of leukemia. We have shown how deregulated expression of negative regulators of differentiation, including c-Myc, c-Myb and E2F-1, blocked differentiation, and have extensively studied how deregulated c-Myc prematurely activated an apoptotic response in addition to blocking differentiation. Several exciting publications describe our studies on Early Growth Response Gene (Egr)-1 promoting myeloid differentiation, and overriding the block in differentiation due to deregulated E2F-1 or c-Myc, thereby demonstrating tumor suppressor functions.
The stress response gene family Gadd45 has become a focal point over the last several years, understanding how it works at the molecular and cellular level, and what its role is in response to stress. Within the last 5 years my laboratory has studied the role of gadd45 in response to oncogenic stress, using breast cancer and leukemia mouse models. More recently my laboratory has started to extensively utilize bone marrow transplantation (BMT) to further analyze the effect of stress response/tumor suppressor Egr-1 and the stress response Gadd45 family of genes on leukemia initiation and progression.
Translational studies incorporate human tumor tissue as well as xenograft mouse models with human tumor cells/cell lines. These lines of inquiry include investigating expression of genes of interest and their downstream effectors, as well as functional studies with these players. Response to known drugs, separately and in combination, will also be incorporated into the research plan. Knowledge acquired from analysis of human tissue and response to drugs has the potential to identify players that can impact on the aggressiveness of disease, and predict outcome for currently established therapies, as well as provide information to design novel targeted treatment regimens or adjunct therapy in conjunction with available treatments
- Education, Training & Credentials
- Postdoctoral Fellowship, Stanford University School of Medicine
- Postdoctoral Fellowship, Weizmann Institute
- PhD, MS, University of Michigan School of Medicine
- BA, Brooklyn College