James DeGregori, PhD


James DeGregori -- 500 x 600


Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Courtenay C. and Lucy Patten Davis Endowed Chair in Lung Cancer Research


​Contact Information

Phone: (303) 724-3230
E-mail: James.Degregori@cuanschutz.edu

Our lab seeks to understand how carcinogenic conditions promote cancer evolution and to discover pathway dependencies in cancers that can be exploited therapeutically.           

For the former, we have developed an evolutionary based model for cancer development, Adaptive Oncogenesis. In this model, mutations (including oncogenic mutations) face fitness landscapes that vary with age or following carcinogen exposure. We propose that long-lived multicellular organisms have evolved stem cell populations with high fitness, not only as a means of efficiently maintaining a tissue, but also because high fitness in a cell population will oppose somatic evolution. Highly effective competition in a young healthy stem cell population serves to maintain the status quo, preventing somatic evolution.  But in stem cell pools damaged by aging, irradiation or other insults, the fitness landscape will be dramatically altered. The fitness of the stem cell pool will be reduced, promoting selection for mutations and epigenetic events that improve fitness.  Using mouse models and focusing on hematopoietic and lung tissues, we are currently exploring how reduced progenitor cell fitness resulting from aging and other insults can select for adaptive oncogenic events and thereby promote the expansion and fixation of oncogenically initiated cells.

Other studies in the lab are geared towards the development of novel therapeutic strategies to treat leukemias. We perform genome-wide loss-of-function screens using RNA interference (RNAi) and CRISPR to identify genes whose inhibition will synergize with current targeted therapeutics to eliminate leukemia cells.  These studies could lead to discovery of adjuvants to current therapies that will more effectively treat or possibly even cure leukemias. 

DeGregori Lab

PicturesFirst NameLast NameJob TitleEmail
Amy BriggsAmyBriggsGraduate Student


Wyatt ChiaWyatt (Shi Biao)ChiaPostdoctoral Scholar


Marco De Dominici
MarcoDe DominiciPostdoctoral Scholarmarco.dedominici@cuanschutz.edu 
Edward Evans
EdwardEvansPostdoctoral Scholaredward.evans@cuanschutz.edu 
Mark GregoryMarkGregoryResearch Instructormark.gregory@cuanschutz.edu
Bridget Hoag
BridgetHoagGraduate Studentbridget.hoag@cuanschutz.edu
Bryan Johnson
BryanJohnsonGraduate Studentbryan.johnson@cuanschutz.edu
Jonathan KurcheJonathanKurcheAssistant Professorjonathan.kurche@cuanschutz.edu
Johannes Menzel
JohannesMenzelPostdoctoral Scholarjohannes.menzel@cuanschutz.edu
Daniela Ortiz
DanielaOrtizGraduate Studentdaniela.ortizchavez@cuanschutz.edu
Vadym Zaberezhnyy
VadymZaberezhnyySenior Professional Research Assistantvadym.zaberezhnyy@cuanschutz.edu 


Our research is generously supported by the following organizations:

National Cancer Institute: www.cancer.gov

National Aging Institute: www.nia.nih.gov

US Department of Veterans Affairs: www.va.gov

American Association of Cancer Researchers: www.aacr.org

Leukemia and Lymphoma Society: www.lls.org

Cancer League of Colorado: www.cancerleague.org

Courtenay C. and Lucy Patten Davis Endowed Chair in Lung Cancer Research

Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics

CU Anschutz

Research I South

12801 East 17th Avenue

Mail Stop 8101

Aurora, CO 80045


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