Reginald Hill, Ph.D.
Archibald Assistant Professor of Cancer Biology
Harper Cancer Research Institute
Department of Biological Sciences
Google Scholar Profile
Ph.D., Genetics and Molecular Biology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Postdoctoral Fellow, Medical and Molecular Pharmacology Dept., UCLA
My research interests are investigating the molecular mechanisms through which the microenvironment promotes tumor initiation, progression and therapeutic resistance.
My interest in elucidating the role of the microenvironment in tumorigenesis began with my graduate studies under Dr. Terry Van Dyke (UNC-Chapel Hill), where I designed and created a new transgenic mouse model of prostate cancer based on retinoblastoma gene (RB) family inactivation. Interestingly, I uncovered that tumor initiation due to pRb family inactivation in the epithelium created selective pressure for p53 loss in the surrounding stromal cells, identifying a critical role for p53 in the mesenchyme. Most importantly, this stromal alteration aided further tumor progression.
This underscored the importance of the microenvironment in tumor progression and supported the emerging concept of targeting the tumor microenvironment as a valid therapeutic strategy.
As a Damon Runyon postdoctoral fellow with Dr. Hong Wu (UCLA), I chose to focus on an area of research with a largely unmet need for translational research. Pancreatic cancer (PDAC) has a high mortality rate, dismal prognosis and few therapeutic options. This pointed to a dire need for novel therapeutic and chemopreventative strategies, and for relevant research models of disease development. I played a central role in establishing mouse models based on PTEN loss of function that recapitulated human PDAC and worked to translate these findings to the human disease.