Research Scientist, Sarver Heart Center
Investigator, Center for Toxicology
Professor, Physiological Sciences - GIDP
Dr. Runyan's cancer-related research focuses on the cellular process of epithelial-mesenchymal cell transition (EMT). Though it began as a developmental biology investigation in relation to congenital heart disease, Dr. Runyan's lab has continued to look for the links to cancer metastasis.
Dr. Runyan received his post-doctoral training at MD Anderson Cancer Center in a department where the underlying premise was that developmental and carcinogenic mechanisms are highly related. His lab was the first to identify TGFb as a mediator of EMT, Snail2 as a target of TGFb, and the Type III TGFb receptor as a critical part of the process.
TGFb has since become the standard mediator of EMT during experimental metastasis. Dr. Runyan's lab first showed the multi-step nature of EMT with evidence that tumor promoting phorbol esters only initiated a partial EMT and that multiple factors were required to complete cell invasion. This concept has become central to investigations of tumor cell plasticity.
Their recent work has focused on OLFM1 as an invasion-promoting or inhibiting extracellular matrix molecule depending on alternatively spliced isoforms. They found that the invasion promoting isoforms are expressed during normal developmental invasion in the embryonic heart and in aggressive forms of rhabdomyosarcoma and esophageal adenocarcinoma. Ongoing collaborations with UACC investigators, Ron Heimark and Justina McEvoy, are continuing to compare the developmental and oncogenic aspects of cell invasion.
- Lencinas A, Broka DM, Konieczka JH, Klewer SE, Antin PB, Camenisch TD, Runyan RB. Mar 2010. Arsenic Exposure Perturbs Epithelial-Mesenchymal Cell Transition (EMT) and Gene Expression In a Collagen Gel Assay. Toxicol Sci,
- Caldwell PT, Manziello A, Howard J, Palbykin B, Runyan RB, Selmin O. Feb 2010. Gene expression profiling in the fetal cardiac tissue after folate and low-dose trichloroethylene exposure. Birth Defects Res A Clin Mol Teratol, 88:111-27
- Makwana O, King NM, Ahles L, Selmin O, Granzier HL, Runyan RB. Jun 2010. Exposure to low-dose trichloroethylene alters shear stress gene expression and function in the developing chick heart. Cardiovasc Toxicol, 10:100-7
- Rausch MP, Hahn T, Ramanathapuram L, Bradley-Dunlop D, Mahadevan D, Mercado-Pimentel ME, Runyan RB, Besselsen DG, Zhang X, Cheung HK, Lee WC, Ling LE, Akporiaye ET. Jun 2009. An orally active small molecule TGF-beta receptor I antagonist inhibits the growth of metastatic murine breast cancer. Anticancer Res, 29:2099-109