Alan Eastman

Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, Hanover, New Hampshire, United States

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Publications (131)642.9 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Concise, scalable, and enantioselective formal syntheses of eight dimeric and three monomeric nuphar alkaloids were achieved, along with the construction of a stereochemically diverse collection of the first known monomeric analogues having apoptotic activity. The syntheses involved the development of highly enantioselective Brønsted acid catalyzed vinylogous Mukaiyama–Mannich reactions, which feature the unprecedented use of a supersilyl group to control the regio-, enantio- and diastereoselectivity. Biological studies reveal that several of these novel nuphar analogues are even more potent than their dimeric natural product counterparts.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2016 · Angewandte Chemie
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    ABSTRACT: Microtubule targeting agents, such as vinblastine, are usually thought to arrest cells in mitosis and subsequently induce apoptosis. However, they can also cause rapid induction of apoptosis in a cell-cycle phase independent manner. BNC105 is a novel vascular and microtubule disrupting drug that also induces apoptosis rapidly but with markedly increased potency compared to vinca alkaloids and combretastatin A4. BNC105 binds to the colchicine-binding site on tubulin resulting in activation of c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK), phosphorylation of ATF2, and induction of ATF3 and Noxa leading to acute apoptosis in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) cells. Apoptosis induced by BNC105 is dependent upon both JNK activation and Noxa induction. Normal leukocytes and one CLL sample also exhibited JNK activation but not Noxa induction and were resistant to BNC105. This study emphasizes the importance of Noxa and JNK for induction of apoptosis in CLL cells by microtubule targeting drugs, and highlights the potential of BNC105 as a potent therapeutic to treat hematopoietic malignancies.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2016 · Cancer biology & therapy
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    ABSTRACT: Purpose: Phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) inhibitors are being developed for the treatment of estrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast cancer in combination with anti-estrogens. Understanding the temporal response and pharmacodynamic effects of PI3K inhibition in ER+ breast cancer will provide rationale for treatment scheduling to maximize therapeutic index. Experimental design: Anti-estrogen-sensitive and -resistant ER+ human breast cancer cell lines, and mice bearing PIK3CA-mutant xenografts were treated with the anti-estrogen fulvestrant, the PI3K inhibitor GDC-0941 (pictilisib; varied doses/schedules that provided similar amounts of drug each week), or combinations. Cell viability, signaling pathway inhibition, proliferation, apoptosis, tumor volume, and GDC-0941 concentrations in plasma and tumors were temporally measured. Results: Treatment with the combination of fulvestrant and GDC-0941, regardless of dose/schedule, was significantly more effective than single-agent treatments in fulvestrant-resistant tumors. Short-term, complete PI3K inhibition blocked cell growth in vitro more effectively than chronic, incomplete inhibition. Longer-term PI3K inhibition hypersensitized cells to growth factor signaling upon drug withdrawal. Different schedules of GDC-0941 elicited similar tumor responses. While weekly high-dose GDC-0941 with fulvestrant continuously suppressed PI3K signaling for 72 hours, inducing a bolus of apoptosis and inhibiting proliferation, PI3K reactivation upon GDC-0941 washout induced a proliferative burst. Fulvestrant with daily low-dose GDC-0941 metronomically suppressed PI3K for 6-9 hours/day, repeatedly inducing small amounts of apoptosis and temporarily inhibiting proliferation, followed by proliferative rebound compared to fulvestrant alone. Conclusions: Continuous and metronomic PI3K inhibition elicit robust anti-cancer effects in ER+, PIK3CA-mutant breast cancer. Clinical exploration of alternate treatment schedules of PI3K inhibitors with anti-estrogens is warranted.
    Preview · Article · Jan 2016 · Clinical Cancer Research
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    ABSTRACT: DNA damage activates Checkpoint kinase 1 (Chk1) to halt cell cycle progression thereby preventing further DNA replication and mitosis until the damage has been repaired. Consequently, Chk1 inhibitors have emerged as promising anticancer therapeutics in combination with DNA damaging drugs, but their single agent activity also provides a novel approach that may be particularly effective in a subset of patients. From analysis of a large panel of cell lines, we demonstrate that 15% are very sensitive to the Chk1 inhibitor MK-8776. Upon inhibition of Chk1, sensitive cells rapidly accumulate DNA double-strand breaks in S phase in a CDK2- and cyclin A-dependent manner. In contrast, resistant cells can continue to grow for at least 7 days despite continued inhibition of Chk1. Resistance can be circumvented by inhibiting Wee1 kinase and thereby directly activating CDK2. Hence, sensitivity to Chk1 inhibition is regulated upstream of CDK2 and correlates with accumulation of CDC25A. We conclude that cells poorly tolerate CDK2 activity in S phase and that a major function of Chk1 is to ensure it remains inactive. Indeed, inhibitors of CDK1 and CDK2 arrest cells in G1 or G2, respectively, but do not prevent progression through S phase demonstrating that neither kinase is required for S phase progression. Inappropriate activation of CDK2 in S phase underlies the sensitivity of a subset of cell lines to Chk1 inhibitors, and this may provide a novel therapeutic opportunity for appropriately stratified patients.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2015 · Oncotarget

  • No preview · Article · Aug 2015 · Cancer Research
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    ABSTRACT: Herein, we describe the first total syntheses of five members of the dimeric nuphar alkaloids: (+)-6,6′-dihydroxythiobinupharidine (+)-1 a, (+)-6-hydroxythiobinupharidine (+)-1 b, (−)-6,6′-dihydroxythionuphlutine (−)-2 a, (−)-6,6′-dihydroxyneothiobinupharidine (−)-3 a, and (+)-6,6′-dihydroxyneothionuphlutine (+)-4 a. The latter two have not been found in nature. We have also made each of their enantiomers (−)-1 a–b, (+)-2 a, (+)-3 a, and (−)-4 a. The key step in these syntheses was the dimerization of an α-aminonitrile (a hydrolytically stable surrogate for its corresponding hemiaminal) with chiral Lewis acid complexes. We have also reassigned the literature structures of (+)-1 a–1 b—for those instances in which the NMR spectra were obtained in CD3OD—to their corresponding CD3O-adducts. Our efforts provide for the first time apoptosis data for (−)-3 a, (+)-4 a, and all five non-natural enantiomers prepared. The data indicate high apoptotic activity regardless of the enantiomer or relative stereochemical configuration at C7 and C7′.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2015 · Angewandte Chemie International Edition in English
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    ABSTRACT: Herein, we describe the first total syntheses of five members of the dimeric nuphar alkaloids: (+)-6,6'-dihydroxythiobinupharidine (+)-1 a, (+)-6-hydroxythiobinupharidine (+)-1 b, (-)-6,6'-dihydroxythionuphlutine (-)-2 a, (-)-6,6'-dihydroxyneothiobinupharidine (-)-3 a, and (+)-6,6'-dihydroxyneothionuphlutine (+)-4 a. The latter two have not been found in nature. We have also made each of their enantiomers (-)-1 a-b, (+)-2 a, (+)-3 a, and (-)-4 a. The key step in these syntheses was the dimerization of an α-aminonitrile (a hydrolytically stable surrogate for its corresponding hemiaminal) with chiral Lewis acid complexes. We have also reassigned the literature structures of (+)-1 a-1 b-for those instances in which the NMR spectra were obtained in CD3 OD-to their corresponding CD3 O-adducts. Our efforts provide for the first time apoptosis data for (-)-3 a, (+)-4 a, and all five non-natural enantiomers prepared. The data indicate high apoptotic activity regardless of the enantiomer or relative stereochemical configuration at C7 and C7'. © 2015 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2015 · Angewandte Chemie International Edition
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    ABSTRACT: Hypoxia is a critical hallmark of glioma, and significantly compromises treatment efficacy. Unfortunately, techniques for monitoring glioma pO2 to facilitate translational research are lacking. Furthermore, poor prognoses of patients with malignant glioma, in particular glioblastoma multiforme, warrant effective strategies that can inhibit hypoxia and improve treatment outcome. EPR oximetry using implantable resonators was implemented for monitoring pO2 in normal cerebral tissue and U251 glioma in mice. Breathing carbogen (95% O2 + 5% CO2 ) was tested for hyperoxia in the normal brain and glioma xenografts. A new strategy to inhibit glioma growth by rationally combining gemcitabine and MK-8776, a cell cycle checkpoint inhibitor, was also investigated. The mean pO2 of left and right hemisphere were approximately 56 - 69 mmHg in the normal cerebral tissue of mice. The mean baseline pO2 of U251 glioma on the first and fifth day of measurement was 21.9 ± 3.7 and 14.1 ± 2.4 mmHg, respectively. The mean brain pO2 including glioma increased by at least 100% on carbogen inhalation, although the response varied between the animals over days. Treatment with gemcitabine + MK-8776 significantly increased pO2 and inhibited glioma growth assessed by MRI. In conclusion, EPR oximetry with implantable resonators can be used to monitor the efficacy of carbogen inhalation and chemotherapy on orthotopic glioma in mice. The increase in glioma pO2 of mice breathing carbogen can be used to improve treatment outcome. The treatment with gemcitabine + MK-8776 is a promising strategy that warrants further investigation. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2015 · International Journal of Cancer
  • Nandini Sakurikar · Alan Eastman

    No preview · Article · Feb 2015 · Journal of Clinical Oncology

  • No preview · Article · Oct 2014 · Cancer Research
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND Persistent chromosome segregation errors represent a conspicuous feature of human neoplasms. It is widely accepted that this chromosomal instability is associated with poor prognosis; however, its effect on therapeutic response is a matter of conjecture. METHODS Here, the role of chromosome segregation errors in the response of patients with rectal adenocarcinoma to chemoradiation therapy (CRT) was examined. Pretreatment samples from 62 patients were surveyed for evidence of chromosome mis-segregation and mis-segregation frequency was correlated to the pathological response to CRT as determined by the tumor regression grade after surgical resection of irradiated tumors. RESULTSSurprisingly, it was found that errors in chromosome segregation predicted enhanced pathological response of rectal adenocarcinoma to CRT (odds ratio, 3.9; P = .02). Furthermore, tumor response inversely correlated with the frequency of cells that exhibited segregation errors during anaphase (correlation coefficient, 0.94; P < .05). Strikingly, elevated chromosome mis-segregation combined with decreased levels of the DNA damage repair protein Mre11 portended a markedly enhanced response (odds ratio, 54.0; P = .008). CONCLUSIONS The results of the current study demonstrate that chromosomal instability is a favorable predictor of response to CRT in patients with locally invasive rectal adenocarcinoma. Therefore, the authors propose that downstream structural damage to chromosomes resulting from segregation errors potentiates the effect of DNA-damaging therapies and synergizes with deficiencies in the DNA repair machinery. This work identifies a novel mechanistic marker that foretells treatment response to CRT and suggests that concomitant targeting of whole-chromosome segregation and DNA repair may constitute an effective therapeutic strategy. Cancer 2014. © 2014 American Cancer Society.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2014 · Cancer
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    ABSTRACT: Gossypol is a putative BH3 mimetic proposed to inhibit BCL2 and BCLXL based on cell-free assays. We previously demonstrated that gossypol failed to directly inhibit BCL2 in cells, or induce apoptosis in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) cells or platelets, which require BCL2 or BCLXL respectively for survival. Here, we demonstrate that gossypol rapidly increased activity of phospholipase A2 (PLA2), which led to an increase in cytoplasmic calcium, endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, and up-regulation of the BH3-only protein NOXA. Pre-treatment with the PLA2 inhibitor, aristolochic acid, abrogated the increase in calcium, ER stress and NOXA. Calcium chelation also abrogated the gossypol-induced increase in calcium, ER stress, and NOXA, but not the increase in PLA2 activity indicating that PLA2 is upstream of these events. In addition, incubating cells with the two products of PLA2 (lysophosphatidic acid and arachidonic acid) mimicked treatment with gossypol. NOXA is a pro-apoptotic protein that functions by binding the BCL2 family proteins MCL1 and BFL1. The BCL2 inhibitor ABT-199 is currently in clinical trials for CLL. Resistance to ABT-199 can occur from up-regulation of other BCL2 family proteins, and this resistance can be mimicked by culturing CLL cells on CD154+ stroma cells. We report here that AT-101, a derivative of gossypol in clinical trials, overcomes stroma-mediated resistance to ABT-199 in primary CLL cells suggesting that a combination of these drugs may be efficacious in the clinic.
    Preview · Article · Apr 2014 · Journal of Biological Chemistry
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    ABSTRACT: A lack of strategy to counteract hypoxia (pO2 < 10–15 mmHg) and technique to repeatedly measure tumor pO2 has restricted therapeutic optimization. We report the results obtained with an innovative anti-angiogenic strategy of recurrent low-dose (metronomic) chemotherapy to modulate hypoxia and growth of the Head and Neck tumor xenografts. The FaDu tumors were established in the flank of immune deficient mice and EPR oximetry with lithium phthalocyanine crystals was used to follow the temporal changes in tumor pO2 on treatment with gemcitabine including controls for three weeks. The FaDu tumors were hypoxic with a baseline (pre-treatment) pO2 of 2–8 mmHg. A transient increase in the tumor pO2 was evident on day 3 on treatment with a conventional schedule of gemcitabine (150 mg/kg, d1, d8, d15). No significant change in the tumor pO2 on treatment with metronomic gemcitabine (25 mg/kg on d1, d3, d5 for 3 weeks) was observed. However, tumor pO2 increased significantly on d15–d18 during treatment with a metronomic schedule of 15 mg/kg gemcitabine (d1, d3, d5 for 3 weeks). A modest decrease in the tumor growth was evident on treatment with conventional gemcitabine. Notably, tumor growth was significantly inhibited by metronomic (25 and 15 mg/kg) gemcitabine treatment. The immunohistochemistry (IHC) analyses of the tumor samples indicate a decrease in HIF-1α and TSP-1 on treatment with metronomic gemcitabine. In conclusion, a significant inhibition of tumor growth on treatment with metronomic gemcitabine was observed; however, the increase in pO2 was dose dependent. EPR oximetry can be used to follow the temporal changes in tumor pO2 to identify a therapeutic window on treatment with metronomic chemotherapy for potential combination with radiotherapy.
    No preview · Article · Apr 2014 · Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
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    ABSTRACT: The feasibility of EPR oximetry using a single-probe implantable oxygen sensor (ImOS) was tested for repeated measurement of pO2 in skeletal muscle and ectopic 9L tumors in rats. The ImOS (50 mm length) were constructed using nickel-chromium alloy wires, with lithium phthalocyanine (LiPc, oximetry probe) crystals loaded in the sensor loop and coated with AF 2400(®) Teflon. These ImOS were implanted into the skeletal muscle in the thigh and subcutaneous 9L tumors. Dynamic changes in tissue pO2 were assessed by EPR oximetry at baseline, during tumor growth, and repeated hyperoxygenation with carbogen breathing. The mean skeletal muscle pO2 of normal rats was stable and significantly increased during carbogen inhalation in experiments repeated for 12 weeks. The 9L tumors were hypoxic with a tissue pO2 of 12.8 ± 6.4 mmHg on day 1; however, the response to carbogen inhalation varied among the animals. A significant increase in the glioma pO2 was observed during carbogen inhalation on day 9 and day 14 only. In summary, EPR oximetry with ImOS allowed direct and longitudinal oxygen measurements in deep muscle tissue and tumors. The heterogeneity of 9L tumors in response to carbogen highlights the need to repeatedly monitor pO2 to confirm tumor oxygenation so that such changes can be taken into account in planning therapies and interpreting results.
    No preview · Article · Apr 2014 · Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Stromal-mediated signaling enhances NF-κB pathway activity in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) B cells, leading to cell survival and chemoresistance. Ubiquitination of IκBα may partially account for constitutive activation of NF-κB. MLN4924 is an investigational agent that inhibits the Nedd8-activating enzyme, thereby neutralizing Cullin-RING ubiquitin ligases and preventing degradation of their substrates. We conducted a preclinical assessment of MLN4924 in CLL. Primary CLL cells were cocultured in vitro with CD40L-expressing stroma to mimic the prosurvival conditions present in lymphoid tissue. The effect of MLN4924 on CLL cell apoptosis, NF-κB pathway activity, Bcl-2 family members, and cell cycle was assessed by flow cytometry, Western blotting, PCR, and immunocytochemistry. CD40L-expressing stroma protected CLL cells from spontaneous apoptosis and induced resistance to multiple drugs, accompanied by NF-κB activation and Bim repression. Treatment with MLN4924 induced CLL cell apoptosis and circumvented stroma-mediated resistance. This was accompanied by accumulation of phospho-IκBα, decreased nuclear translocation of p65 and p52 leading to inhibition of both the canonical and noncanonical NF-κB pathways, and reduced transcription of their target genes, notably chemokines. MLN4924 promoted induction of Bim and Noxa in the CLL cells leading to rebalancing of Bcl-2 family members toward the proapoptotic BH3-only proteins. siRNA-mediated knockdown of Bim or Noxa decreased sensitivity to MLN4924. MLN4924 enhanced the antitumor activity of the inhibitors of B-cell receptor (BCR)-associated kinases. MLN4924 disrupts NF-κB activation and induces Bim expression in CLL cells, thereby preventing stroma-mediated resistance. Our data provide rationale for further evaluation of MLN4924 in CLL. Clin Cancer Res; 20(6); 1576-89. ©2014 AACR.
    Preview · Article · Mar 2014 · Clinical Cancer Research
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    ABSTRACT: Chk1 inhibitors have emerged as promising anticancer therapeutic agents particularly when combined with antimetabolites such as gemcitabine, cytarabine or hydroxyurea. Here, we address the importance of appropriate drug scheduling when gemcitabine is combined with the Chk1 inhibitor MK-8776, and the mechanisms involved in the schedule dependence. Growth inhibition induced by gemcitabine plus MK-8776 was assessed across multiple cancer cell lines. Experiments used clinically relevant "bolus" administration of both drugs rather than continuous drug exposures. We assessed the effect of different treatment schedules on cell cycle perturbation and tumor cell growth in vitro and in xenograft tumor models. MK-8776 induced an average 7-fold sensitization to gemcitabine in 16 cancer cell lines. The time of MK-8776 administration significantly affected the response of tumor cells to gemcitabine. Although gemcitabine induced rapid cell cycle arrest, the stalled replication forks were not initially dependent on Chk1 for stability. By 18 h, RAD51 was loaded onto DNA indicative of homologous recombination. Inhibition of Chk1 at 18 h rapidly dissociated RAD51 leading to the collapse of replication forks and cell death. Addition of MK-8776 from 18-24 h after a 6-h incubation with gemcitabine induced much greater sensitization than if the two drugs were incubated concurrently for 6 h. The ability of this short incubation with MK-8776 to sensitize cells is critical because of the short half-life of MK-8776 in patients' plasma. Cell cycle perturbation was also assessed in human pancreas tumor xenografts in mice. There was a dramatic accumulation of cells in S/G2 phase 18 h after gemcitabine administration, but cells had started to recover by 42 h. Administration of MK-8776 18 h after gemcitabine caused significantly delayed tumor growth compared to either drug alone, or when the two drugs were administered with only a 30 min interval. There are two reasons why delayed addition of MK-8776 enhances sensitivity to gemcitabine: first, there is an increased number of cells arrested in S phase; and second, the arrested cells have adequate time to initiate recombination and thereby become Chk1 dependent. These results have important implications for the design of clinical trials using this drug combination.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2013 · BMC Cancer
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    ABSTRACT: S1 is a putative BH3 mimetic proposed to inhibit BCL2 and MCL1 based on cell-free assays. However, we previously demonstrated that it failed to inhibit BCL2 or induce apoptosis in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) cells, which are dependent on BCL2 for survival. In contrast, we show here that S1 rapidly increases reactive oxygen species, initiates endoplasmic reticulum stress, and upregulates the BH3-only protein NOXA. The BCL2 inhibitors, ABT-737, ABT-263, and ABT-199, have demonstrated pro-apoptotic efficacy in cell lines, while ABT-263 and ABT-199 have demonstrated efficacy in early clinical trials. Resistance to these inhibitors arises from the upregulation of anti-apoptotic factors, such as MCL1, BFL1, and BCLXL. This resistance can be induced by co-culturing CLL cells on a stromal cell line that mimics the microenvironment found in patients. Since NOXA can inhibit MCL1, BFL1, and BCLXL, we hypothesized that S1 may overcome resistance to ABT-737. Here we demonstrate that S1 induces NOXA-dependent sensitization to ABT-737 in a human promyelocytic leukemia cell line (NB4). Furthermore, S1 sensitized CLL cells to ABT-737 ex vivo, and overcame resistance to ABT-737 induced by co-culturing CLL cells with stroma.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2013 · Apoptosis
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    Full-text · Article · Sep 2013 · Expert Review of Anti-infective Therapy

  • No preview · Article · Aug 2013 · Cancer Research
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    ABSTRACT: Conduct a proof-of-principle study to test whether c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) phosphorylation and Noxa induction occur in peripheral blood chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) cells in patients receiving a vincristine infusion. Patients with CLL received 2 mg vincristine by a 5 min intravenous infusion. Blood samples were collected at baseline and up to 6 h post vincristine infusion and assayed for JNK activation, Noxa induction and vincristine plasma concentrations. Ex vivo treated peripheral CLL cells activated JNK in response to 10-100 nM vincristine in 6 h. Noxa protein expression, while variable, was also observed over this time frame. In CLL patients, vincristine infusion led to rapid (<1 h) JNK phosphorylation in peripheral blood CLL cells which was sustained for at least 4-6 h post vincristine infusion. Noxa protein expression was not observed in response to vincristine infusion. This study confirmed that vincristine can activate JNK but not induce Noxa in CLL cells in vivo. The results suggest that novel JNK-dependent drug combinations with vincristine warrant further investigation. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2013 · Cancer Research

Publication Stats

6k Citations
642.90 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 1990-2016
    • Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth
      • • Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology
      • • Department of Radiology
      Hanover, New Hampshire, United States
  • 2005-2014
    • Dartmouth–Hitchcock Medical Center
      • Department of Surgery
      LEB, New Hampshire, United States
    • Dartmouth College
      • Department of Chemistry
      Hanover, New Hampshire, United States
  • 1987-1990
    • University of Nebraska at Omaha
      • Eppley Institute for Research in Cancer and Allied Diseases
      Omaha, Nebraska, United States
  • 1985-1989
    • University of Nebraska Medical Center
      • Eppley Institute for Cancer Research
      Omaha, Nebraska, United States
  • 1982-1983
    • University of Vermont
      Burlington, Vermont, United States
  • 1981-1983
    • University of Vermont Medical Center
      Burlington, Vermont, United States