Molecular Endocrinology, Nutrition and Obesity Division

The overarching theme of the Division is to study the role of the endocrine system in affecting cancer susceptibility and growth of cancer cells.

Endocrine functions, cancer risk, and prognosis can be affected by various nutritional factors, including dietary fats, plant derived compounds such as genistein and indole-3-carbinol, and also contaminants in foods such as heavy metals.

Obesity is also identified as a factor that modifies cancer risk and prognosis. The key signaling pathways that the members of the Division are focusing on are steroid hormone receptor signaling pathways--including estrogen and progesterone receptors, receptors for dietary lipids (peroxisomal proliferator activated receptors), oncogene signaling pathways (AIB-1, IFG-1, Stat5), and tumor suppressors (p53, BRCA1 and 2). The Division is also interested in how these hormonally sensitive pathways affect chemoprevention and chemosensitivity. Further, members of the Division are studying the mechanisms by which age and developmental stage at the time of exposure to hormonal and dietary factors and obesity can determine the effect on cancer risk.

Division Co-Directors
  • Robert Clarke, PhD, DSC, Professor
  • Leena Hilikivi-Clarke, PhD, Professor
Division Members
  • Gloria Chepko, PhD, Assistant Professor
  • Saijun Fan, MD, PhD, Associate Professor
  • Yongxian Ma, PhD, Instructor
  • Mary Beth Martin, PhD, Professor
  • Rebecca Riggins, PhD, Research Assistant Professor
  • Eliot Rosen, MD, PhD, Professor
  • Tapas Saha, PhD, Research Instructor
  • Careen Tang, PhD, Associate Professor
  • Jingwen Xu, PhD, Instructor