Medical Scientist Training Program    Back to Main

Faculty Detail    
Campus Address 176F 2232 Zip 6832
Phone  (205) 934-5670
Other websites

Faculty Appointment(s)
Appointment Type Department Division Rank
Primary  Radiation Oncology   Radiation Oncology Chair Office Professor
Center  General Clinical Research Center  Ctr for Clinical & Translational Sci Professor
Center  Comprehensive Cancer Center  Comprehensive Cancer Center Professor
Center  Center for AIDS Research  Center for AIDS Research Professor
Secondary  Cell, Developmntl, & Integrative Biology  Cell, Developmntl, & Integrative Biology Associate Professor
Secondary  Biomedical Engineering  Biomedical Engineering Associate Professor
Secondary  Biochemistry & Molecular Genetics  Biochemistry & Molecular Genetics Associate Professor

Graduate Biomedical Sciences Affiliations
Medical Scientist Training Program 

Biographical Sketch 
I completed undergraduate training in biomedical engineering at Duke University where I received a Bachelor’s of Science of Engineering in 1996. Following graduation, I matriculated to the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) in the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP). This combined MD/PhD program is sponsored by the NIGMS section of NIH and is intended to train scientist-physicians. I ultimately joined Dhan’s lab and successfully completed the Molecular and Cell Biology Pathobiology PhD Program at MUSC. My doctoral thesis was entitled “The Mechanism of c-Src Activation and its Role During Cardiac Hypertrophy.” These studies involved the development of a cell culture model system that mimicked in vivo observations in which adult primary cardiac muscle cells were embedded within a three-dimensional collagen matrix and were stimulated with small integrin-binding peptides. After graduating from MUSC, I entered a transitional year internship for one year and then went to Vanderbilt for radiation oncology residency. I was accepted into the American Board of Radiology (ABR) Holman Pathway that provides 2 years of 80% protected research time during residency. My primary mentor was Dennis Hallahan, MD, who was professor and chair of the department. During residency, I twice received grant support from RSNA investigating inherent radioresistance of tumor vasculature. I also received DOD funding for my research on prostate cancer. These research projects involved phospholipid and kinase signaling cascades that complemented my previous research experience as well as my current investigations. Just before completing residency, I was awarded the ASTRO Junior Faculty Career Research Training Award for my work examining PKC/MARCKS in vascular endothelium. I accepted an Assistant Professor position at The University of Alabama at Birmingham in the Department of Radiation Oncology where I started on July 1st, 2008. I have 30% clinical effort and 70% research/teaching/administrative effort. Clinically, my focus is predominantly CNS, head and neck, and lung cancer.

Society Memberships
Organization Name Position Held Org Link
Alpha Omega Alpha     

Research/Clinical Interest
Signaling in cancer biological systems, and discovery and development of radiation modulators for cancer treatment
1. UAB Kinome Core: (Director: Christopher D. Willey) Investigating kinase driven signal transduction cascades in a spectrum of biological systems (in vitro to in vivo), particularly related to cancer, but also other kinase driven diseases. This core utilizes a high-content peptide array platform (PamStation®12) that measures global kinase activity in cell and tissue lysates providing broad basic and translational potential. Several collaborations are ongoing across UAB campus. An emphasis of the core is to develop personalized medicine approaches through evaluation of kinomic profiles in tumor specimens coupled with ex vivo profiling of small molecule inhibitors (kinase inhibitors) to guide therapy selection. Specific cancers being tested include: glioblastoma, lung cancer, breast cancer, head and neck cancer, and pancreas cancer. 2. Systems Biology approaches in glioblastoma multiforme: In collaboration with G. Yancey Gillespie, Markus Bredel, Christine Duarte, and Jonas Almeida, we are evaluating ways to use high content data to make therapeutic decisions in glioblastoma multiforme beginning in patient derived xenolines with the ultimate goal of doing so in patients. 3. Radiation response modulation: Investigating proteins including, Bmx, MARCKS, PKC, Periostin, and Src in the context of radiation response. The intent is to identify and develop targets for therapeutic development. 4. Clinical Research: Serving as a translational PI on several protocol concepts, particularly in head and neck, breast, lung and gynecological malignancies. We have an open proof of principle trial involving kinomic profiling of electronic navigational bronchoscopy specimens from suspected lung cancer tumors (PI: M. Chris Dobelbower).

Selected Publications 
Publication PUBMEDID
Jarboe JS, Anderson JC, Duarte CW, Mehta T, Nowsheen S, Hicks PH, Whitley AC, Rohrbach TD, McCubrey RO, Chiu S, Burleson TM, Bonner JA, Gillespie GY, Yang ES, Willey CD. MARCKS Regulates Growth, Radiation Sensitivity and is a Novel Prognostic Factor for Glioma. Clin Cancer Res. 2012 Jun 1;18(11):3030-41.  22619307 
Jarboe JS*, Jaboin JJ*, Anderson JC, Nowsheen S, Stanley JA, Naji F, Ruijtenbeek R, Tu T, Hallahan DE, Yang ES, Bonner JA, Willey CD. Kinomic profiling approach identifies Trk as a novel radiation modulator. Radiother Oncol 2012 Jun;103(3):380-7.   22561027 
Duarte CW, Willey CD, Zhi D, Cui X, Harris JJ, Vaughan LK, Mehta T, McCubrey RO, Khodarev NN, Weichselbaum RR, Gillespie GY. Expression Signature of IFN/STAT1 Signaling Genes Predicts Poor Survival Outcome in Glioblastoma Multiforme in a Subtype-Specific Manner. PLoS One. 2012;7(1):e29653. Epub 2012 Jan 5.   22242177 
Bonner JA, Willey CD, Yang ES, Dobelbower MC, Sanford LL, Bright SJ, Buchsbaum DJ, Raisch KP. Treatment of Small Cell Lung Cancer with TRA-8 in Combination with Cisplatin and Radiation. Radiother Oncol. 2011 Oct;101(1):183-9. Epub 2011 Jun 30   21722984 
Bonner JA, Yang ES, Trummell HQ, Nowsheen S, Willey CD, Raisch KP. Inhibition of STAT-3 Results in Greater Cetuximab Sensitivity in Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma. Radiother Oncol. 2011 Jun;99(3):339-43.   21704410 
Willey CD*, Xiao D*, Tu T, Kim KW, Moretti L, Niermann KJ, Tawtawy MN, Quarles CC, Lu B. Enzastaurin (LY317615), a protein kinase Cβ selective inhibitor, enhances anti-angiogenic effect of radiation. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2010 Aug 1; 77(5):1518-1526.   19906497 
Bonner JA, Trummell HQ, Willey CD, Plants BA, Raisch KP. Inhibition of STAT-3 results in radiosensitization of human squamous cell carcinoma. Radiotherapy and Oncology.2009 Sep;92(3):339-44.  19616333 
Wu FY*, Yang ES*, Willey CD, Ely K, Garrett CG, Cmelak AJ. Refractory lymphoepithelial carcinoma of the nasopharynx: A case report illustrating a protracted clinical course. Head and Neck Oncology. 2009 Jun 15;1(1):18.  19527509 
Moretti L*, Kim KW*, Jung DK, Willey CD, Lu B. Radiosensitization of solid tumors by Z-VAD, a pan-caspase inhibitor. Molecular Cancer Therapeutics. 2009 May 5; 8(5):1270-9.  19417149 
Willey CD*, Palanisamy A*, Shiraishi H, Balasubramanian B, Zile MR, Tuxworth WJ, Kuppuswamy D, STAT3 Activation in Pressure Overloaded Feline Myocardium: Role for Integrins and the Tyrosine Kinase BMX. Int J Biol Sci. Int J Biol Sci. 2008 Jun 27;4(3):184-99.  18612371 
Tu T, Thotala D, Geng L, Hallahan DE, Willey CD. Bmx is activated by ionizing radiation and is a molecular target for development for Radiosensitizing drugs. Cancer Research. 2008 Apr 15;68(8):2861-9.  18413754 
Huamani J*, Willey C*, Niermann K, Reyzer M, Leavitt L, Jones C, Thotala DK, Fleishcher A, Caprioli R, Hallahan DE, Kim DWN. Differential efficacy of combined therapy with radiation and AEE788 in a high and low EGFR expressing androgen independent prostate tumor models. Int. Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology and Physics. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2008 May 1;71(1):237-46.  18337021 
Cuneo KC, Tu T, Geng L, Fu A, Hallahan DE, Willey CD. HIV protease inhibitors enhance the antiangiogenic effect of irradiation. Cancer Research. 2007 May 15:67(10):4886-93.  17510418 
Albert JM, Cao C, Kim KW, Willey CD, Wang H, Geng L, Sandler A, Johnson DH, Low J, Rothenberg M, Lu B. Inhibition of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase enhances cell death and improves tumor growth delay in irradiated lung cancer models. Clin Cancer Res. 2007 May 15;13(10):3033-42.  17505006 
Kim KW, Mutter R, Willey CD, Subhawang TK, Shinohara ET, Albert JM, Geng L, Cao C, Gi YJ , Lu B. Inhibition of survivin and Aurora B kinase sensitizes mesothelioma cells by enhancing mitotic arrests. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2007 Apr 1;67(5):1519-25.  17394948 
Willey CD, Murphy B, Netterville J, Burkey B, Shaktour B, Kish B, Raben D, C. Chen, Song J, Kane M, Cmelak A. A Phase II Multi-Institutional Trial of Chemoradiation Using Weekly Docetaxel and Erythropoietin for High-Risk Postoperative Head and Neck Cancer Patients. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2007 Apr 1;67(5):1323-31.  17289289  
Yu K, Ma P, Ge J, Willey CD, Yang P, Wang Z, Gao Q. Expression of protein kinase C isoforms in cultured human retinal pigment epithelial cells. Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol, 2007 Jul;245(7):993-9.  17124607 
Balasubramanian S, Mani S, Shiraishi H, Johnston RK, Yamane K, Willey CD, Cooper Gt, Tuxworth WJ, Kuppuswamy D. Enhanced ubiquitination of cytoskeletal proteins in pressure overloaded myocardium is accompanied by changes in specific E3 ligases. J Mol Cell Cardiol 2006;41:669-79.  16928382 
Willey CD, Balasubramanian S, Rodríguez Rosas M, Ross RS, Kuppuswamy D. Focal Complex Formation in Adult Cardiomyocytes is Accompanied by the Activation of β3 Integrin and c-Src. J Mol Cell Cardiol. 2003 Jun;35(6):671-83.  12788385 
Iijima Y, Laser M, Shiraishi H, Willey CD, Sundaravadivel B, Xu L, McDermott PJ, Kuppuswamy D. c- Raf/MEK/ERK Pathway Controls Protein Kinase C-mediated p70S6K Activation in Adult Cardiac Muscle Cells. J Biol Chem 2002 Jun 21;277(25):23065-75.  11940578 
Laser M, Willey CD, Jiang W, Cooper G IV, Menick DR, Zile MR, Kuppuswamy D. Integrin Activation and Focal Complex Formation in Cardiac Hypertrophy. J Biol Chem. 2000 Nov 10;275(45):35624-35630.   10958798 

Kinases, kinomics, MARCKS, radiation, glioma, head and neck cancer, lung cancer, signal transduction, cancer biology