Faculty and Staff
Michael Shtutman, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor / Drug Discovery and Biomedical Sciences
College of Pharmacy
Doctor of Philosophy, Experimental Oncology 1990-1996
Cancer Research Center, Moscow, Russia
Masters of Science, Biotechnology 1982-1988
Moscow Mendeleev Chemical - Technological Institute,
Department of Biotechnology, Moscow, Russia
Postdoctoral Fellow 1997-1999
Department of Molecular Cell Biology
Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel
The general research direction of my laboratory is identifying and exploring new molecular targets for cancer therapy using the methods of functional genomics, in particular, the selection of phenotype-modifying short hairpin RNAs (shRNAs) and genetic suppressor elements (GSEs). The principal novel target that we have identified is the Zeta subunit of the COPI complex that coats intracellular vesicles and is involved in intracellular traffic and autophagy.
Two alternative forms of the Zeta subunit are encoded by the genes COPZ1 and COPZ2, and we have discovered that many types of cancer no longer express COPZ2, making such tumors uniquely dependent on COPZ1. COPZ1 inhibition has little effect on normal cells, but it kills tumor cells--both proliferating and quiescent--thus offering the potential for complete eradication of the tumor. We have found that COPZ2 silencing in cancers is a consequence of the inactivation of a tumor-suppressive micro RNA, miR152, which is encoded within the COPZ2 gene. Our current studies are concentrated on exploring COPZ1 as a novel target for cancer therapy and elucidating the mechanisms of the tumor-suppressive activity of miR152.