Research Program Members
Exploration and characterization of subcellular organelles to elucidate the complexities of biological systems and address current biomedical problems; biochemistry of mitochondria and biotransformations of drug and xenobiotics in subcellular environments capillary electrophoresis, microfluidics, single molecule detection, and imaging.
Development of methods to quantify and identify markers for the investigation of mechanisms of carcinogenesis related to exposure to alcohol and tobacco using innovative mass spectrometry technology and cutting-edge adductomics with a focus of studying mechanisms of carcinogenesis related to head and neck, esophageal, lung and colon cancer
The effect of body weight and food intake on the development of breast cancer and prostate cancer using mouse models. Studies include the effect of genetic and diet-induced obesity on breast/mammary tumor development, particularly with respect to body fat and serum IFG-1, leptin, and adiponectin levels
Distinguished McKnight Professor & Merck Professor
Chemistry and biology of famesyl diphosphate and related molecules which serve a multitude of functions in biological systems. It acts as a membrane anchor signaling proteins that regulate cell growth and is the precursor to many natural products with medicinal activity.
Molecular mechanisms of cancer development and the actions of chemopreventive agents in cancer prevention; tumor promoter-induced signal transduction pathways and their role in the process of neoplastic cell transformation, carcinogenesis, and cancer prevention using molecular and cell biological techniques, transgenic mice and mouse gene-knockout models
The development of biomarkers and their application in epidemiologic studies for the identification of risk factors and mechanisms associated with chronic disease with a focus on breast, colon and pancreatic cancer as well as the specific areas of DNA repair, oxidative damage and antioxidants, adhesion molecules, inflammation, dietary components and genetic susceptibility
Synthesis and biophysical characterization of novel small molecules that influence cellular function; the development of probes to study cancer stem cell biology, synthesis and characterization of natural product analogues that target cancer stem cells, and the development of chemical probes to study protein-DNA interactions.
Wallin Land Grant Professor of Cancer Prevention
The Hecht laboratory focuses on mechanisms and prevention of tobacco-induced cancer, elucidating mammalian metabolic pathways and interactions of carcinogens with DNA. This information is used to develop biomarkers, which are applied in collaborative clinical and epidemiologic studies.
The metabolism of nicotine and nitrosamines; characterization of the specificity of P450 enzymes and UDP-glucuronosyl transferases involved in these reactions; collaborative studies on nicotine metabolism in smokers are on-going to investigate the influence of individual differences in nicotine metabolism on smoking behavior and nicotine dependence
Professor and Department Head
Use of novel delivery systems for treatment and prevention of cancer; mechanisms of nanotechnology-based drug delivery, with emphasis on understanding how various biological factors and carrier properties affect the effectiveness of targeted delivery systems.
Development of probes and biomarker analysis strategies for detecting therapeutic efficacy with a current focus on companion diagnostics to measure pharmacodynamics of kinase inhibitor drugs in leukemia; development of new directions to use cutting edge proteomics to study oxidative stress and potential prostate (and other) cancer biomarkers
Mechanisms of toxicity and carcinogenecity caused by environmental chemicals; how DNA repair proteins influence the mutagenic and carcinogenic properties of tobacco-specific nitrosamines; mechanism by which furan induces liver tumors in laboratory animals.
Natural products as a source of novel anticancer chemotherapeutics; development of a high-throughput platform for mining new natural products from sequenced microbial genomes with a focus on molecules with anticancer properties
Development of novel biomarkers of human exposure to chemical carcinogens; carcinogen-induced damage to chromosomal and mitochondrial DNA; application of biomarkers to understand inter-individual differences in susceptibility to chemical carcinogen-induced cancer; tobacco carcinogenesis.
Investigation of the structural basis for carcinogenic and anticancer activity of DNA- and protein-modifying agents; the effects of nucleobase modifications on DNA structure and stability. Mass spectrometry is used to quantify the formation of DNA and protein adducts in vivo. These studies identify molecular targets of exogenous and endogenous electrophiles and provide an insight into the origins of their biological activity
Investigation of the metabolism of genotoxicants in the environment and diet, and development of biomarkers of their urinary metabolites and adduction products to DNA and protein. Mass spectrometric methods are employed to measure these biomarkers in collaborative molecular epidemiological studies, which seek to understand the role of hazardous chemicals and interindividual susceptibilities in the risk of developing cancer.
Molecular mechanisms by which different types of carcinogenic agents interfere with the cellular communications networks that control cell fate; application of 3-dimensional human cell culture systems as models for investigating chemical carcinogenesis.