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Burt Anderson, Ph.D.

Professor, College Of Medicine Molecular Medicine
  • The primary focus of our laboratory is how facultative intracellular bacteria control expression of genes required for virulence. We currently study how Bartonella henselae regulates expression of genes required to mediate the unique vascular proliferation that is observed in patients infected with this bacterium. In addition, we are studying gene regulatory circuits required for virulence in Francisella tularensis.
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  • My current research focuses on understanding the role of the Amyloid Precursor Protein (APP) in pancreatic cancer. It is well known that pancreatic cancer has a poor prognosis and very low 5-year survival rates. Early detection poses a challenge mainly owing to the location of this organ and a non-symptomatic progression. At the molecular level, the oncogene RAS is known to be mutated and overexpressed in this cancer and the signaling pathways are somewhat understood. Using several pancreatic cancer cells lines, our recent findings show that APP is overexpressed in most pancreatic cancer cells lines as well. Preliminary studies have shown that APP can regulate RAS transcription levels and knock down of APP can inhibit RAS protein expression. Using this information, my project aims to understand the mechanism of regulation of RAS by APP and to establish APP, its processed fragments, and associated signaling pathways as possible targets for drug development against pancreatic cancer.
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