Molecular Mechanisms of Ovarian Steroid Receptor Action in Cancers and Tumors


G protein-coupled estrogen receptor 1 (GPER1)-mediated tamoxifen action in breast cancer

The Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulator (SERM), tamoxifen, acts as an ERα antagonist in breast cancer and is the most widely used adjuvant treatment for breast cancer patients.  However, some breast cancers are insensitive to tamoxifen treatment and most breast cancers develop resistance over time.   Tamoxifen is an agonist for the membrane-bound G protein-coupled estrogen receptor 1 (GPER1) and this receptor has been implicated in the acquisition of tamoxifen resistance in breast cancer cells.  Little is known about the molecular mechanisms underlying the altered sensitivity.  The working hypothesis in my group is that GPER1 plays an important factor of the sensitivity of  breast cancer cells to tamoxifen.  A major research goal in my laboratory is to define the role of GPER1 in tamoxifen treated breast cancer cells.

Funded by:  New Mexico INBRE

Uterine leiomyoma

Uterine leiomyomas are benign tumors origination in the smooth muscle layer of the uterus.  These lesions are symptomatic in approximately 25% of affected women and surgical removal if currently the most prescribed treatment.  My laboratory aims to identify molecular therapeutic approaches to treat uterine leiomyoma.  To this end, we use uterine leiomyoma cells derived from the Eker rat model of uterine leiomyoma in combination with biochemical and molecular biology approaches to understand the role of GPER1 in the development and growth of uterine leiomyoma.


Collaborative Projects


Label free detection of rare tumor cells in a heterogeneous cell population

w/ Jessica P. Houston, Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering, New Mexico State University

Funded by: 

Cellular, Molecular, and Biochemical Characterization of triazaborolopyridinium HPY-dye conjugated biomolecules

w/ Jeffrey B. Arterburn, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, New Mexico State University