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Faculty Detail    
Professor and Chair, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology
Newman H. Waters Chair of Clinical Pharmacology
Associate Director for Translational Research, UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center
Campus Address VH 143 Zip 0019
Phone  (205) 934-4579
Other websites

Graduate  University of Minnesota    1983  PhD 

Faculty Appointment(s)
Appointment Type Department Division Rank
Center  Comp Arthritis, MSK, Bone & Autoimmunity Ctr  Comp Arthritis, MSK, Bone & Autoimmunity Ctr Professor
Center  Comprehensive Cancer Center  Comprehensive Cancer Center Professor
Center  General Clinical Research Center  Ctr for Clinical & Translational Sci Professor
Center  General Clinical Research Center  Comprehensive Neuroscience Center Professor
Primary  Pharmacology/Toxicology   Pharmacology/Toxicology Chair's Office Professor

Graduate Biomedical Sciences Affiliations
Biochemistry and Structural Biology 
Cancer Biology 
Medical Scientist Training Program 

Biographical Sketch 
NY State University, College at Cortland BS in Biology, 1978 University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN PhD in Genetics & Cell Biology, 1983 Biozentrum U. of Basel, Basel, Switzerland Fogarty Post-doctoral Fellow, 1983-85 Harvard University, Cambridge MA Post-doctoral Fellow, 1985-89 Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia PA Asst/Assoc Professor, 1989-99 St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis TN Assoc/Full Member, 1999-2009 St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis TN Member, Developmental Therapeutics of Solid Malignancies Program 1999-2009 University of Alabama at Birmingham, Pharmacology & Toxicology Professor and Chair, 2009- UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center Assoc Director for Translational Research, 2009- UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center Co-Leader, Cancer Cell Biology Program, 2009-

Society Memberships
Organization Name Position Held Org Link
Association of Medical School Pharmacology Chairs  Secretary, President-elect   

Research/Clinical Interest
Mary-Ann Bjornsti, PhD has long-standing research interests in the mechanisms of anti-cancer drug action and in pathways regulating tumor growth and chemotherapeutic response. As a post-doc at Harvard University, she pioneered the use of the genetically tractable yeast model system to investigate the mechanism of action of DNA topoisomerase I and chemotherapeutics that target this enzyme. At Thomas Jefferson University, her lab expanded these studies to include genetic and biochemical studies of cellular pathways dictating tumor cell response to these drugs. At St Jude Children’s Research Hospital and at UAB, her lab has focused on translating basic mechanisms of chemotherapeutic drug action and cellular pathways that regulated responses to these agents to human cell lines and mouse models. Her lab has partnered with the UAB Alabama drug discovery alliance and Southern Research to establish genome-wide siRNA screening capabilities that complement state-of-the-art chemistry and small molecule screening platforms at Southern Research. She had developed extensive collaborative efforts with Members of the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Breast Cancer SPORE to investigate pathways that regulate cellular responses to topoisomerase I-induced DNA damage, the functional consequences of protein SUMOylation on cellular responses to genotoxic stresses, and the role of TOR signaling in the DNA damage response.

DNA topoisomerase I, yeast genetics, cancer chemotherapeutics, TOR signaling, SUMOylation, DNA damage response, drug resistance, siRNA screening, breast cancer