Cancer Research Team

On any given day, walking through the labs of the Center for Cancer Research, you might encounter any of the following investigators translating cellular processes into a potential cure for cancer.


Lawrence Pfeffer

Lawrence M. Pfeffer, PhD

College of Medicine

Dr. Pfeffer researches an anticancer drug called interferon, which is an important component of the host response to various insults. By understanding the way this compound works at the cellular and molecular level, he may be able to identify new strategies to enhance the drug's effectiveness and/or diminishing undesirable side effects. He is also interested in identifying the role of cancer stem-like cells in the therapeutic resistance of cancer. His focus is on treating brain cancer, prostate cancer and melanoma.


John K. Buolamwini

John K. Buolamwini, PhD

College of Pharmacy

Dr. Buolamwini is discovering ways to design drugs and therapies that inhibit or disrupt processes within cancer cells at the molecular level. Presently, he is targeting breast, prostate, lung and colon cancers. Additionally, he is in the forefront of developing a novel approach to cancer prevention, called chemoprevention.

Subash Chauhan

Subash Chauhan, PhD

College of Pharmacy

The primary focus of Dr. Chauhan's lab is to identify and characterize novel diagnostic and therapeutic targets for cancer. Recently his lab has identified a novel trans-membrane mucin MUC13 which is highly over-expressed ovarian and pancreatic cancer cells. This may be potential biomarker for early cancer diagnosis as well as a good target for antibody guided targeted cancer therapy. His lab is also involved in cancer health disparity research.

Meiyun Fan

Meiyun Fan, PhD

College of Medicine

Dr. Fan is studying gene transcription regulation in breast cancer cells. She is trying to identify transcription regulators that drive the progression of breast cancer cells from a curable estrogen-dependent stage to a life-threatening estrogen-independent stage.

Meena Jaggi

Meena Jaggi, PhD

College of Pharmacy

Dr. Jaggi's lab is investigating the role of Protein Kinase D and wnt signaling in cancer progression. Signaling pathway downstream of the E-cadherin/ß-catenin alters the malignant phenotype of cancer cells. She is studying the regulation of this complex by Protein Kinase D1 (PKD1). She is also involved in prostate cancer health disparity research.

Ronald Laribee

Ronald Laribee, PhD

College of Medicine

The Laribee laboratory uses budding yeast and mammalian cell culture models to study conserved epigenetic pathways that regulate gene expression and DNA repair and are mutated in human cancers.

Len Lothstein

Len Lothstein, PhD

College of Medicine

Dr. Lothstein is confronting two major impediments to successful cancer chemotherapy and long-term patient survival: Cancer cell resistance to drug treatment and the irreversible damage to the heart caused by current therapies. He is developing a new class of anti-cancer drugs designed to circumvent drug resistance in cancer cells while protecting the heart from damage.

Yi Lu

Yi Lu, PhD

College of Medicine

Dr. Lu studies how breast cancer cells grow and metastasize, as well as how blood vessel development to the tumors are inhibited by a gene that suppresses these mechanisms. He is also researching viral gene therapy for prostate cancer.

Daruka Mahadevan

Daruka Mahadevan, MD, PhD

College of Medicine

Daruka Mahadevan, M.D. Ph.D., is a medical oncologist physician scientist with an expertise in structure-based drug discovery, design and development of novel anti-cancer agents. His laboratory conducts translational drug development in the areas of non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, pancreas cancer, prostate cancer and Gastrointestinal stromal tumors. Laboratory studies have led to novel combination studies in early phase clinical trials in hematologic and solid malignancies.

Ramesh Narayanan

Ramesh Narayanan, PhD

College of Medicine

Dr. Narayanan's primary focus has been small molecule drug discovery and translational oncology research. His expertise includes identification of novel therapeutic targets, discover new chemical entities (NCEs), reposition NCEs and therapeutic targets, and understand molecular mechanisms of action of therapeutic targets and NCEs with emphasis on hormone- dependent and -resistant cancers.

Tiffany Seagroves

Tiffany Seagroves, PhD

College of Medicine
icon Lab: Seagroves Lab

Dr. Seagroves is discovering how the transcription factor HIF-1alpha controls downstream target gene expression and promotes cancer stem cell self-renewal, tumor-initiation potential and metastasis in breast cancer. High levels of HIF-1alpha are found in most solid tumors, corresponding with poor clinical outcome and resistance to radiation and chemotherapy. She also collaborates with several investigators on campus by using the mouse as a pre-clinical model to test anticancer activity of novel therapeutics.

Andrzej Slominski

Andrzej Slominski, MD, PhD

College of Medicine

Dr. Slominski is a physician-scientist whose goal is to find a cure for metastatic melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer, and to develop strategies to diminish the effect that exposure to the sun has on the formationof this disease. He will also be testing whether novel chemical variations of vitamin D can be used successfully during therapy of breast, prostate, lung and other types of cancers.

Zhaohui Wu

Zhaohui Wu, PhD

College of Medicine

The Wu laboratory goal is to improve cancer treatment efficiency and reduce therapeutic resistance of cancer cells by modulating the genotoxic NF-kB signaling pathway. We envision the insights into the unique mechanisms of NF-kB genotoxic signaling pathway will reveal novel drug targets selectively antagonizing the cancer therapeutic resistance meanwhile keeping physiological functions of NF-kB in regulating immunity, resulting in efficient cancer therapy and fewer relapse.

Junming Yue

Junming Yue, PhD

College of Medicine

Dr. Yue investigates how miRNAs regulate tumor cell proliferation, migration, apoptosis and metastasis. His lab uses lentiviral, adenoviral and adeno-associated viral vectors to deliver miRNA genes in vitro and in vivo to study the miRNA-mediated gene regulatory network in the development and treatment of ovarian cancer.


business manager

Rene' D. Smira

Business Manager

Rene’ Smira provides management and fiscal support for the Molecular Resource Center (MRC), the Center for Cancer Research, and various self-funded core labs. She also assists the MRC, CRB, and Core Lab Directors in the planning, management, operation, and administrative functions including budgets, personnel, research, and training.

Andrea Briggs

Andrea Briggs

Administrative Specialist II

Ms. Briggs assists the Director of the Center for Cancer Research. She manages the administrative and fiscal responsibilities and is the first point of contact for the building. Ms. Briggs coordinates center events and transmits communications to the campus. Notify Ms. Briggs if you have specific needs for your area, such as equipment or supplies, arrangement of conference rooms for meetings, special deliveries, and any other building-related questions or concerns.

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Contact Us

UTHSC Center for Cancer Research

19 S. Manassas
Memphis, TN 38163
Phone: (901) 448-7855

Director of the Center for Cancer Research:
Lawrence M. Pfeffer, PhD