Dr. Davide Ruggero, Ph.D., is a Professor in the Department of Urology and Cellular & Molecular Pharmacology, he holds the Helen Diller Family Endowed Chair of Basic Cancer Research at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). Dr. Ruggero has made numerous breakthrough discoveries in the area of mammalian translational control as well as how deregulation in translation control leads to cancer, establishing a new field of study. Dr. Ruggero uncovered that deregulations in translation control serve as a common mechanism downstream of multiple oncogenic signals (e.g. PI3K-AKT-mTOR, Ras, Myc) to cause cellular transformation. Genome-wide analysis of the deregulated proteome during cancer formation, utilizing novel polysome microarrays and ribosome profiling pioneered by the Ruggero Lab, indicates that control of protein production provides a highly specific, robust, and rapid response to oncogenic stimuli. The Ruggero Lab complemented these studies by generating the first mouse models for components of the translation machinery found mutated in human disease and cancer. Utilizing biochemical, molecular, and genetic approaches within the context of these unique animal models, Dr. Ruggero is uncovering novel mechanisms for gene-specific control of mRNA translation vital for cancer initiation. These results have been instrumental in the design of a new generation of compounds that modulate protein synthesis and act as novel therapeutic agents.
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