Curtis C Harris

National Cancer Institute (USA), Maryland, United States

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Publications (231)1703.72 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Background: We previously developed a prognostic classifier using the expression levels of BRCA1, HIF1A, DLC1, and XPO1 that identified stage I lung adenocarcinoma patients with a high risk of relapse. That study evaluated patients in five independent cohorts from various regions of the world. In an attempt to further validate the classifier, we have used a meta-analysis based approach to study 12 cohorts consisting of 1069 TNM stage I lung adenocarcinoma patients from every suitable, publically available dataset. Materials and Methods: Cohorts were obtained through a systematic search of public gene expression datasets. These data were used to calculate the risk score using the previously published 4-gene risk model. A fixed effects meta-analysis model was used to generate a pooled estimate for all cohorts. Results: The classifier was associated with prognosis in ten of the twelve cohorts (p<0.05). This association was highly consistent regardless of the ethnic diversity or microarray platform. The pooled estimate demonstrated that patients classified as high risk had worse overall survival for all stage I (Hazard Ratio [HR], 2.66; 95% Confidence Interval [CI], 1.93-3.67; P<0.0001) patients and in stratified analyses of stage IA (HR, 2.69; 95%CI, 1.66-4.35; P<0.0001) and stage IB (HR, 2.69; 95%CI, 1.74-4.16; P<0.0001) patients. Conclusions: The -4-gene classifier provides independent prognostic stratification of stage IA and stage IB patients beyond conventional clinical factors Impact: Our results suggest that the 4-gene classifier may assist clinicians in decisions regarding postoperative management of early stage lung adenocarcinoma patients.
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    ABSTRACT: The advent of low-dose helical computed tomography for lung cancer screening will likely lead to an increase in the detection of stage I lung cancer. Presently, these patients are primarily treated with surgery alone and approximately 30% will develop recurrence and die. Biomarkers that can identify patients for whom adjuvant chemotherapy would be a benefit could significantly reduce both patient morbidity and mortality. Herein, we sought to build a prognostic inflammatory-based classifier for stage I lung cancer.
    Journal of thoracic oncology: official publication of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer 08/2014; · 4.55 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Bloom syndrome is a rare autosomal recessive disorder characterized by genetic instability and cancer predisposition, and caused by mutations in the gene encoding the Bloom syndrome, RecQ helicase-like (BLM) protein. To determine whether altered gene expression might be responsible for pathological features of Bloom syndrome, we analyzed mRNA and microRNA (miRNA) expression in fibroblasts from individuals with Bloom syndrome and in BLM-depleted control fibroblasts. We identified mRNA and miRNA expression differences in Bloom syndrome patient and BLM-depleted cells. Differentially expressed mRNAs are connected with cell proliferation, survival, and molecular mechanisms of cancer, and differentially expressed miRNAs target genes involved in cancer and in immune function. These and additional altered functions or pathways may contribute to the proportional dwarfism, elevated cancer risk, immune dysfunction, and other features observed in Bloom syndrome individuals. BLM binds to G-quadruplex (G4) DNA, and G4 motifs were enriched at transcription start sites (TSS) and especially within first introns (false discovery rate ≤ 0.001) of differentially expressed mRNAs in Bloom syndrome compared with normal cells, suggesting that G-quadruplex structures formed at these motifs are physiologic targets for BLM. These results identify a network of mRNAs and miRNAs that may drive the pathogenesis of Bloom syndrome.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 06/2014;
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    Tomer Cooks, Curtis C Harris, Moshe Oren
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    ABSTRACT: The p53 transcription factor is a major tumor suppressor, whose diverse activities serve to ensure genome stability and inhibit neoplastic processes. In recent years, it is becoming increasingly clear that p53 also plays a broader role in maintaining cellular homeostasis, as well as contributing to tissue homeostasis in a non-cell-autonomous fashion. Chronic inflammation is a potential cancer promoting condition, and as such is also within the radar of p53, which mounts a multifaceted attempt to prevent the escalation of chronic tissue imbalance into neoplasia. Recent understanding of the p53 pathway and other family members reveals a broad interaction with inflammatory elements such as reactive oxygen and nitrogen species, cytokines, infectious agents and major immune-regulatory pathways like NF-κB. This complex crosstalk is highly dependent on p53 status, as different p53 isoforms and p53 mutants can mediate different responses and even promote chronic inflammation and associated cancer, acting in the tumor cells as well as in the stromal and immune compartments.
    Carcinogenesis 06/2014; · 5.64 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background: The EML4-ALK fusion gene is more frequently found in younger, never smoking, lung cancer patients. Meanwhile, never smokers exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke (SHS) during childhood are diagnosed at a younger age compared with never smoking lung cancer patients that are not exposed. We therefore hypothesized that SHS, which can induce DNA damage, is associated with the EML4-ALK fusion gene. Methods: We compared the frequency of the EML4-ALK fusion gene among 197 never smoker lung cancer patients with and without a history of exposure to SHS during childhood at Mayo Clinic. Results: The EML4-ALK fusion gene was detected in 33% of cases from never smokers with a history of SHS exposure during childhood, while 47% of never smoking lung cancer cases without a history of childhood SHS exposure tested positive for the fusion gene. Conclusions: The EML4-ALK fusion gene is not enriched in tumors from individuals exposed to SHS during childhood. Impact: These data suggest that childhood exposure to SHS is not a significant etiologic cause of the EML4-ALK fusion gene in lung cancer.
    Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers &amp Prevention 04/2014; · 4.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Lung cancer remains the most common cause of cancer deaths worldwide, yet there is currently a lack of diagnostic noninvasive biomarkers that could guide treatment decisions. Small molecules (<1500 Da) were measured in urine collected from 469 lung cancer patients and 536 population controls using unbiased liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. Clinical putative diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers were validated by quantitation and normalized to creatinine levels at two different time points and further validated in an independent sample set, which comprises 80 cases and 78 population controls, with similar demographic and clinical characteristics when compared to the training set. Creatine riboside (IUPAC name: 2-{2-[(2R,3R,4S,5R)-3,4-dihydroxy-5-(hydroxymethyl)-oxolan-2-yl]-1-methylcarbamimidamido}acetic acid), a novel molecule identified in this study, and N-acetylneuraminic acid (NANA), were each significantly (P <0.00001) elevated in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and associated with worse prognosis (hazard ratio (HR) =1.81 [P =0.0002], and 1.54 [P =0.025], respectively). Creatine riboside was the strongest classifier of lung cancer status in all and stage I-II cases, important for early detection, and also associated with worse prognosis in stage I-II lung cancer (HR =1.71, P =0.048). All measurements were highly reproducible with intraclass correlation coefficients ranging from 0.82 - 0.99. Both metabolites were significantly (P <0.03) enriched in tumor tissue compared to adjacent non-tumor tissue (N =48), thus revealing their direct association with tumor metabolism. Creatine riboside and NANA may be robust urinary clinical metabolomic markers that are elevated in tumor tissue and associated with early lung cancer diagnosis and worse prognosis.
    Cancer Research 04/2014; · 9.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To identify druggable oncogenic fusions in invasive mucinous adenocarcinoma (IMA) of the lung, a malignant type of lung adenocarcinoma in which KRAS mutations frequently occur. From an IMA cohort of 90 cases, consisting of 56 cases (62%) with KRAS mutations and 34 cases without (38%), we conducted whole-transcriptome sequencing of 32 IMAs, including 27 cases without KRAS mutations. We used the sequencing data to identify gene fusions, and then performed functional analyses of the fusion gene products. We identified oncogenic fusions that occurred mutually exclusively with KRAS mutations: CD74-NRG1, SLC3A2-NRG1, EZR-ERBB4, TRIM24-BRAF, and KIAA1468-RET. NRG1 fusions were present in 17.6% (6/34) of KRAS-negative IMAs. The CD74-NRG1 fusion activated HER2:HER3 signaling, whereas the EZR-ERBB4 and TRIM24-BRAF fusions constitutively activated the ERBB4 and BRAF kinases, respectively. Signaling pathway activation and fusion-induced anchorage-independent growth/tumorigenicity of NIH3T3 cells expressing these fusions were suppressed by tyrosine kinase inhibitors approved for clinical use. Oncogenic fusions act as driver mutations in IMAs without KRAS mutations, and thus represent promising therapeutic targets for the treatment of such IMAs.
    Clinical Cancer Research 04/2014; · 7.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: There are no robust noninvasive methods for colorectal cancer screening and diagnosis. Metabolomic and gene expression analyses of urine and tissue samples from mice and humans were used to identify markers of colorectal carcinogenesis. Mass spectrometry-based metabolomic analyses of urine and tissues from wild-type C57BL/6J and Apc(Min/+) mice, as well as from mice with azoxymethane-induced tumors, was employed in tandem with gene expression analysis. Metabolomics profiles were also determined on colon tumor and adjacent non-tumor tissues from 39 patients. The effects of β-catenin activity on metabolic profiles were assessed in mice with colon-specific disruption of Apc. Thirteen markers were found in urine associated with development of colorectal tumors in Apc(Min/+) mice. Metabolites related to polyamine metabolism, nucleic acid metabolism, and methylation, identified tumor-bearing mice with 100% accuracy, and also accurately identified mice with polyps. Changes in gene expression in tumor samples from mice reflected the observed changes in metabolic products detected in urine; similar changes were observed in mice with azoxymethane-induced tumors and mice with colon-specific activation of β-catenin. The metabolic alterations indicated by markers in urine therefore appear to occur during early stages of tumorigenesis, when cancer cells are proliferating. In tissues from patients, tumors had stage-dependent increases in 12 metabolites associated with the same metabolic pathways identified in mice (including amino acid metabolism and polyamine metabolism). Ten metabolites that were increased in tumor tissues, compared with non-tumor tissues (proline, threonine, glutamic acid, arginine, N1-acetylspermidine, xanthine, uracil, betaine, symmetric dimethylarginine, and asymmetric-dimethylarginine), were also increased in urine from tumor-bearing mice. Gene expression and metabolomic profiles of urine and tissue samples from mice with colorectal tumors and of colorectal tumor samples from patients revealed metabolites associated with specific metabolic changes that are indicative of early-stage tumor development. These urine and tissue markers might be used in early detection of colorectal cancer.
    Gastroenterology 01/2014; · 12.82 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Although implicated in the pathogenesis of several chronic inflammatory disorders and hematologic malignancies, telomerase mutations have not been thoroughly characterized in human cancers. The present study was performed to examine the frequency and potential clinical relevance of telomerase mutations in esophageal carcinomas.
    PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(7):e101010. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Δ133p53α, a p53 isoform that can inhibit full-length p53, is downregulated at replicative senescence in a manner independent of mRNA regulation and proteasome-mediated degradation. Here we demonstrate that, unlike full-length p53, Δ133p53α is degraded by autophagy during replicative senescence. Pharmacological inhibition of autophagy restores Δ133p53α expression levels in replicatively senescent fibroblasts, without affecting full-length p53. The siRNA-mediated knockdown of pro-autophagic proteins (ATG5, ATG7 and Beclin-1) also restores Δ133p53α expression. The chaperone-associated E3 ubiquitin ligase STUB1, which is known to regulate autophagy, interacts with Δ133p53α and is downregulated at replicative senescence. The siRNA knockdown of STUB1 in proliferating, early-passage fibroblasts induces the autophagic degradation of Δ133p53α and thereby induces senescence. Upon replicative senescence or STUB1 knockdown, Δ133p53α is recruited to autophagosomes, consistent with its autophagic degradation. This study reveals that STUB1 is an endogenous regulator of Δ133p53α degradation and senescence, and identifies a p53 isoform-specific protein turnover mechanism that orchestrates p53-mediated senescence.
    Nature Communications 01/2014; 5:4706. · 10.74 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Obesity is an established colon cancer risk factor, while preventing or reversing obesity via a calorie restriction (CR) diet regimen decreases colon cancer risk. Unfortunately, the biological mechanisms underlying these associations are poorly understood, hampering development of mechanism-based approaches for preventing obesity-related colon cancer. We tested the hypotheses that diet-induced obesity (DIO) would increase (and CR would decrease) colon tumorigenesis in the mouse azoxymethane (AOM) model. In addition, we established that changes in inflammatory cytokines, growth factors, and microRNAs are associated with these energy balance-colon cancer links, and thus represent mechanism-based targets for colon cancer prevention. Mice were injected with AOM once a week for 5 weeks and randomized to: 1) control diet; 2) 30% CR diet; or 3) DIO diet. Mice were euthanized at week 5 (n = 12/group), 10 (n = 12/group), and 20 (n = 20/group) after the last AOM injection. Colon tumors were counted, and cytokines, insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), IGF binding protein 3 (IGFBP-3), adipokines, proliferation, apoptosis, and expression of microRNAs (miRs) were measured. The DIO diet regimen induced an obese phenotype (∼36% body fat), while CR induced a lean phenotype (∼14% body fat); controls were intermediate (∼26% body fat). Relative to controls, DIO increased (and CR decreased) the number of colon tumors (p = 0.01), cytokines (p<0.001), IGF-1 (p = 0.01), and proliferation (p<0.001). DIO decreased (and CR increased) IGFBP-3 and apoptosis (p<0.001). miRs including mir-425, mir-196, mir-155, mir-150, mir-351, mir-16, let-7, mir34, and mir-138 were differentially expressed between the dietary groups. We conclude that the enhancing effects of DIO and suppressive effects of CR on colon carcinogenesis are associated with alterations in several biological pathways, including inflammation, IGF-1, and microRNAs.
    PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(4):e94765. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background and aims Patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) have a higher risk of developing colorectal cancer than the general population. Genome-wide association studies have identified and replicated several loci associated with risk of IBD; however, it is currently unknown whether these loci are also associated with colon cancer risk. Methods We selected 15 validated SNPs associated with risk of either Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, or both in previous GWAS and tested whether these loci were also associated with colon cancer risk in a two-stage study design. Results We found that rs744166 in STAT3 was associated with colon cancer risk in two studies; however, the direction of the observation was reversed in TP53 mutant tumors possibly due to a nullification of the effect by mutant p53. The SNP, which lies within intron 1 of the STAT3 gene, was associated with lower expression of STAT3 mRNA in TP53 wild-type, but not mutant, tumors. Conclusions These data suggest that the STAT3 locus is associated with both IBD and cancer. Further understanding the function of this variant in relation to TP53 could possibly explain the role of this gene in autoimmunity and cancer. Furthermore, an analysis of this locus, specifically in a population with IBD, could help to resolve the relationship between this SNP and cancer.
    Cancer Epidemiology. 01/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: We scanned through the genomes of 29,141 African Americans, searching for loci where the average proportion of African ancestry deviates significantly from the genome-wide average. We failed to find any genome-wide significant deviations, and conclude that any selection in African Americans since admixture is sufficiently weak that it falls below the threshold of our power to detect it using a large sample size. These results stand in contrast to the findings of a recent study of selection in African Americans. That study, which had 15 times fewer samples, reported six loci with significant deviations. We show that the discrepancy is likely due to insufficient correction for multiple hypothesis testing in the previous study. The same study reported 14 loci that showed greater population differentiation between African Americans and Nigerian Yoruba than would be expected in the absence of natural selection. Four such loci were previously shown to be genome-wide significant and likely to be affected by selection, but we show that most of the 10 additional loci are likely to be false positives. Additionally, the most parsimonious explanation for the loci that have significant evidence of unusual differentiation in frequency between Nigerians and Africans Americans is selection in Africa prior to their forced migration to the Americas.
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    ABSTRACT: Cellular senescence contributes to aging and decline in tissue function. p53 isoform switching regulates replicative senescence in cultured fibroblasts and is associated with tumor progression. Here, we found that the endogenous p53 isoforms Δ133p53 and p53β are physiological regulators of proliferation and senescence in human T lymphocytes in vivo. Peripheral blood CD8+ T lymphocytes collected from healthy donors displayed an age-dependent accumulation of senescent cells (CD28-CD57+) with decreased Δ133p53 and increased p53β expression. Human lung tumor-associated CD8+ T lymphocytes also harbored senescent cells. Cultured CD8+ blood T lymphocytes underwent replicative senescence that was associated with loss of CD28 and Δ133p53 protein. In poorly proliferative, Δ133p53-low CD8+CD28- cells, reconstituted expression of either Δ133p53 or CD28 upregulated endogenous expression of each other, which restored cell proliferation, extended replicative lifespan and rescued senescence phenotypes. Conversely, Δ133p53 knockdown or p53β overexpression in CD8+CD28+ cells inhibited cell proliferation and induced senescence. This study establishes a role for Δ133p53 and p53β in regulation of cellular proliferation and senescence in vivo. Furthermore, Δ133p53-induced restoration of cellular replicative potential may lead to a new therapeutic paradigm for treating immunosenescence disorders, including those associated with aging, cancer, autoimmune diseases, and HIV infection.
    The Journal of clinical investigation 11/2013; · 15.39 Impact Factor
  • Ana I Robles, Curtis C Harris
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 11/2013; · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Colon cancer (CC) is a leading cause of cancer mortality. Novel biomarkers are needed to identify CC patients at high risk of recurrence and those who may benefit from therapeutic intervention. The aim of this study is to investigate if miR-21 expression from RNA isolated from formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue sections is associated with prognosis and therapeutic outcome for patients with CC. The expression of miR-21 was measured by quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction in a Japanese cohort (stage I-IV, n = 156) and a German cohort (stage II, n = 145). High miR-21 expression in tumors was associated with poor survival in both the stage II/III Japanese (P = 0.0008) and stage II German (P = 0.047) cohorts. These associations were independent of other clinical covariates in multivariable models. Receipt of adjuvant chemotherapy was not beneficial in patients with high miR-21 in either cohort. In the Japanese cohort, high miR-21 expression was significantly associated with poor therapeutic outcome (P = 0.0001) and adjuvant therapy was associated with improved survival in patients with low miR-21 (P = 0.001). These results suggest that miR-21 is a promising biomarker to identify patients with poor prognosis and can be accurately measured in FFPE tissues. The expression of miR-21 may also identify patients who will benefit from adjuvant chemotherapy. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    International Journal of Cancer 10/2013; · 6.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Chronic inflammation has been implicated in the etiology of colorectal adenoma and cancer; however, few key inflammatory genes mediating this relationship have been identified. In this study, we investigated the association of germline variation in innate immunity genes in relation to the risk of colorectal neoplasia. Our study was based on the analysis of samples collected from the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian (PLCO) Cancer Screening Trial. We investigated the association between 196 tag single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 20 key innate immunity genes with risk of advanced colorectal adenoma and cancer in 719 adenoma cases, 481 cancer cases and 719 controls. Logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals. After Bonferroni correction, the AG/GG genotype of rs5995355, which is upstream of NCF4, was associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer (odds ratio [OR] 2.43, 95% confidence interval [95% CI] 1.73 - 3.39; P<0.0001). NCF4 is part of the NAPDH complex, a key factor in biochemical pathways and the innate immune response. While not definitive, our analyses suggest that the variant allele does not affect expression of NCF4, but rather modulates activity of the NADPH complex. Additional studies on the functional consequences of rs5995355 in NCF4 may help to clarify the mechanistic link between inflammation and colorectal cancer. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    International Journal of Cancer 08/2013; · 6.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The tumor suppressor p53 is frequently mutated in human cancer. Common mutant p53 (mutp53) isoforms can actively promote cancer through gain-of-function (GOF) mechanisms. We report that mutp53 prolongs TNF-α-induced NF-κB activation in cultured cells and intestinal organoid cultures. Remarkably, when exposed to dextran sulfate sodium, mice harboring a germline p53 mutation develop severe chronic inflammation and persistent tissue damage, and are highly prone to inflammation-associated colon cancer. This mutp53 GOF is manifested by rapid onset of flat dysplastic lesions that progress to invasive carcinoma with mutp53 accumulation and augmented NF-κB activation, faithfully recapitulating features frequently observed in human colitis-associated colorectal cancer (CAC). These findings might explain the early appearance of p53 mutations in human CAC.
    Cancer cell 05/2013; 23(5):634-46. · 25.29 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Prognostic tests for early stage lung cancer patients may provide needed guidance on postoperative surveillance and therapeutic decisions. We used a novel strategy to develop and validate a prognostic classifier for early stage lung cancer. Specifically, we focused on 42 genes with roles in lung cancer or cancer prognosis. Expression of these biologically relevant genes and their association with relapse-free survival were evaluated using microarray data from 148 stage I lung adenocarcinoma patients. Seven genes associated with relapse-free survival were further examined by quantitative RT-PCR in 291 lung adenocarcinoma tissues from Japan, the United States and Norway. Only BRCA1, HIF1A, DLC1, and XPO1 were each significantly associated with prognosis in the Japan and US/Norway cohorts. A Cox regression-based classifier was developed using these four genes on the Japan cohort and validated in stage I lung adenocarcinoma from the US/Norway cohort and three publically available lung adenocarcinoma expression profiling datasets. The results suggests that the classifier is robust across ethnically and geographically diverse populations regardless of the technology used to measure gene expression. We evaluated the combination of the four-gene classifier with microRNA miR-21 (MIR21) expression and found that the combination improved associations with prognosis, which were significant in stratified analyses on stage IA and stage IB patients. Thus, the four coding gene classifier, alone or with miR-21 expression, may provide a clinically useful tool to identify high risk patients and guide recommendations regarding adjuvant therapy and postoperative surveillance of stage I lung adenocarcinoma patients.
    Cancer Research 05/2013; · 9.28 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

14k Citations
1,703.72 Total Impact Points


  • 1979–2014
    • National Cancer Institute (USA)
      • • Laboratory of Human Carcinogenesis
      • • Laboratory of Experimental Immunology
      Maryland, United States
    • National Institutes of Health
      • • Laboratory of Human Carcinogenesis
      • • Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics
      • • Laboratory of Experimental Immunology
      Maryland, United States
  • 2005–2013
    • South Carolina College of Pharmacy
      Columbia, South Carolina, United States
    • Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences
      Maryland, United States
    • Cork University Hospital
      • Department of Pathology
      Cork, M, Ireland
    • University of South Carolina
      • College of Pharmacy
      Columbia, SC, United States
  • 2010
    • Universita degli studi di Ferrara
      • Department of Morphology, Surgery and Experimental Medicine
      Ferrara, Emilia-Romagna, Italy
  • 1999–2010
    • NCI-Frederick
      • Laboratory of Experimental Immunology
      Maryland, United States
  • 2009
    • Georgetown University
      • Lombardi Cancer Center
      Washington, D. C., DC, United States
    • RIKEN
      Вако, Saitama, Japan
  • 2008
    • University of Washington Seattle
      • Department of Pathology
      Seattle, WA, United States
    • University of Illinois at Chicago
      • Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy
      Chicago, IL, United States
  • 2003–2008
    • Weizmann Institute of Science
      • Department of Molecular Cell Biology
  • 1986–2008
    • University of Maryland, Baltimore
      • Department of Pathology
      Baltimore, Maryland, United States
  • 2007
    • Japanese Foundation for Cancer Research
      Edo, Tōkyō, Japan
  • 2006
    • The Ohio State University
      • Department of Molecular Virology, Immunology and Medical Genetics
      Columbus, OH, United States