Mary-Ann Bjornsti, PhD

mary_ann_bjornstiMary-Ann Bjornsti, PhD, is Chair of the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology at UAB, and Newman H. Waters Chair of Clinical Pharmacology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). She also serves as co-Leader of the Cancer Cell Biology Program and Associate Director for Translational Research in the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center. In the latter capacity, she runs a Translational and Clinical Concepts Research meeting to enhance the integration of translational science into clinical phase I/II trials. Her long-standing research interests are in the mechanisms of anti-cancer drug action and in pathways regulating tumor growth and chemotherapeutic response. As a post-doctoral at Harvard University, she pioneered the use of the genetically tractable yeast model system to investigate the mechanism of action of DNA topoisomerase I and chemotherapeutics that target this enzyme. As Assistant/Associate Professor at Thomas Jefferson University, her lab expanded these studies to include genetic and biochemical studies of cellular pathways dictating tumor cell response to these drugs. As Assoc / Full member at St Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Member of the Developmental Therapeutics of Solid Malignancies Program, and as Professor and Chair at UAB, her lab has focused on translating basic mechanisms of chemotherapeutic drug action and cellular pathways that regulated responses to these agents to human cell lines and mouse models. At UAB, she has been actively engaged in building a robust Department with research programs in cancer and neuro-pharmacology. She also serves on the Strategic Oversight Committee for the UAB Graduate Program in Biomedical Sciences, the UAB MTSP (MD/PhD) program and the Alabama Drug Discovery Alliance (ADDA). Her lab has partnered with the UAB ADDA and Southern Research to establish genome-wide siRNA screening capabilities that complement state-of-the-art chemistry and small molecule screening platforms at Southern Research. She had developed extensive collaborative efforts with Members of the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Breast Cancer SPORE to investigate pathways that regulate cellular responses to topoisomerase I-induced DNA damage, the functional consequences of protein SUMOylation on cellular responses to genotoxic stresses, and the role of TOR signaling in the DNA damage response. In addition to being a member of the AACR and AMSPC, she has served as Councilor and is currently Secretary of AMSPC. She also serves on the External Advisory Board for the UT San Antonio Cancer Center and is on the Board for the Cancer Molecular Therapeutics Research Association.

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