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Faculty Detail    
Campus Address VH G019 Zip 0019
Phone  (205) 934-2951
Other websites Publications via PubMed
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Faculty Appointment(s)
Appointment Type Department Division Rank
Primary  Pathology   Molecular & Cellular Pathology Associate Professor
Center  Comprehensive Cancer Center  Comprehensive Cancer Center Associate Professor
Center  General Clinical Research Center  Ctr for Clinical & Translational Sci Associate Professor

Graduate Biomedical Sciences Affiliations
Cancer Biology 
Cell, Molecular, & Developmental Biology 
Medical Scientist Training Program 
Pathobiology and Molecular Medicine 

Biographical Sketch 
Prior to receiving his degrees, Dr. Hurst served in the US Navy for 6 years as a SCUBA diver and nuclear mechanic onboard the fast attack nuclear submarine USS Grayling (SSN-646). After an honorable discharge from the Navy, Dr. Hurst earned a BS in Biochemistry and BA in Chemistry from the College of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina where he published several papers from his undergraduate research related to the strong-base synthesis of heterocyclic aromatic compounds. He then received an individual pre-doctoral fellowship from the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program (scored 1.0) entitled "Targeting Breast Cancer Membrane Metalloproteinases" under the mentorship of Dr. QX Amy Sang at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida. After completion of his PhD in Biochemistry, he moved to the University of Alabama at Birmingham where he obtained an individual Ruth L. Kirschstein post-doctoral fellowship from NIH (F32) entitled "Mechanistic Insight into BRMS1 Suppression of Metastasis" under the mentorship of Dr. Danny Welch. In December of 2010, he became an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pathology where his current studies are focused on understanding the molecular mechanisms of breast cancer metastasis.

Society Memberships
Organization Name Position Held Org Link
American Association for Cancer Research  member 
American Association for the Advancement of Science  member 
American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology  member 
Metastasis Research Society  past board member 
Susan G. Komen North Central Alabama  board member - president elect 

Research/Clinical Interest
Molecular mechanisms of cancer metastasis
The overall goal of our studies is to understand the molecular mechanisms of cancer metastasis. Many metastasis-associated genes are epigenetically regulated by chromatin structure. A major ongoing project in our group is to functionally characterize how SIN3 chromatin modification complexes regulate breast cancer progression and metastasis. SIN3 is a nuclear scaffold that recruits transcription factors, histone binding proteins, and protein modifying enzymes to specific sites of chromatin leading to epigenetic regulation of gene transcription. There are two paralogs of SIN3 in higher organisms that are located on different chromosomes. We discovered that SIN3 paralogs, SIN3A and SIN3B, play divergent roles in regulating triple negative breast cancer progression and our data suggest that SIN3B expression is required for metastasis and SIN3A is a metastasis suppressor. Our projects include basic molecular and cellular biology techniques using both in vitro and in vivo model systems to characterize the structural and functional units of SIN3 complexes. To determine the clinical relevance of our data, we utilize patient tissue samples in translational studies. We have been funded extramurally by the American Cancer Society, METAvivor Research and Support, and the Elsa U. Pardee Foundation.

Selected Publications 
Publication PUBMEDID
Hurst DR, Li H, Xu X, Badisa VL, Shi YE, Sang QX. Development and characterization of a new polyclonal antibody specifically against tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases 4 in human breast cancer. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2001;281:166-71.  11178975 

metastasis, breast cancer, chromatin modification, microenvironment, tumor progression