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Developmental Oncogene Laboratory 


Transforming Cancer Research

Answering the most urgent questions in cancer research and tissue regeneration

Give to the Laboratory

Jonathan Kelber teaching students at the whiteboard.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women - pancreatic cancer, one of the deadliest. Dr. Jonathan Kelber, Professor of Biology in the College of Science and Mathematics, and his team, including undergraduates, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, are tackling both. Their overarching, long-term goal is to identify new ways to save the lives of cancer patients.

They recently identified how a gene known as PEAK1 (Dr. Kelber was the first to characterize the function of PEAK1during his own postdoctoral training at UC San Diego School of Medicine) contributes to the earliest stages of breast cancer metastasis. Their discovery and subsequent findings have established proof-of-concept that targeting upstream regulatory nodes, which drive PEAK1 function, may be efficacious in combatting triple-negative breast cancer progression.

The team was also the first to report that a cell-surface protein known as ITGA1 enables pancreatic cancer cells to develop resistance to the standard-of-care chemotherapy for this malignancy and subsequently metastasize in response to the extracellular cues.

Dr. Kelber and his team continue to publish their findings in top-tier, peer-reviewed research journals and have been recognized by local, state and federal agencies with more than $1.8 million in funding since the Developmental Oncogene Laboratory was established in 2012. Notably, 2017, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) granted Dr. Kelber a $1.46 million, four-year grant to support their continued research into both breast and pancreatic cancers. That same year, Dr. Kelber was the recipient of an ASCB-MAC Visiting Professorship to work alongside Dr. Joan Brugge’s team at the Harvard Medical School Department of Cell Biology and Ludwig Center on PEAK1 in breast cancer. Most recently, Dr. Kelber was awarded a prestigious US-UK Fulbright-CRUK Scholarship to collaborate with Dr. Martin Humphries on ITGA1 in pancreatic cancer at the University of Manchester Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell-Matrix Research.

Dr. Kelber’s work is continuing to transform cancer research through discoveries made in his CSUN laboratory and through his exceptional global network. The fact that our diverse student body receives training and participates in this type of state-of-the-art research, is just another example of how CSUN positions its students to achieve more than they ever thought possible.

Your gifts fuel discoveries toward new cancer therapies by Dr. Kelber and his team in the Developmental Oncogene Laboratory. Help change the future of cancer treatment.