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M. Ben Major

M. Ben Major

  • Ph.D.
  • Cancer Cell Biology

  • Dept. of Cell Biology & Physiology
  • UNC-Chapel Hill
  • benmajor@med.unc.edu
  • 919-966-9835
  • Lineberger, Rm. 31-351

Area of Interest

Although initiated by genetic mutation, the unchecked proliferation, aberrant differentiation, and altered motility of cancer cells depends upon the integrity and activation state of specific signal transduction pathways. Our laboratory is interested in understanding how alterations in these signaling pathways contribute to human cancer, and whether exploitation of that understanding can aid in the development of new diagnostics, prognostics and therapeutic intervention strategies. To this end, we employ a global “systems level” integrative discovery platform, one that has as a foundation mass spectrometry-based proteomic interaction networks. More specifically, through LC/MS/MS, we define the physical interaction network for a signaling pathway of oncogenic interest. By small molecule and functional genomic screening, we then annotate the human genome for functional contribution to the pathway of interest. Integration of these data with cancer-associated mutation data and cancer-associated gene expression data yields a powerful tool for oncogenic discovery—a cancer annotated physical/functional map for a specific signaling pathway of interest. The models and hypotheses produced though integrative screening are challenged through mechanistic studies employing cultured human cancer cells, zebrafish, mice and in vitro biochemical systems.

Awards and Honors

2010 Sidney Kimmel Scholar Award
2010 NIH Directors New Innovator Award