Joshua Black, PhD

Associate Professor

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Contact Information:

University of Colorado Denver
Department of Pharmacology
Mail Stop 8303, RC1-North
12801 East 17th Ave
Aurora CO 80045

Phone: (303) 724-9991
Fax: (303) 724-3663

Office: RC1-North, P18-6116

cirriculum vitae

Genome instability, chromosomal structural aberrations, and copy number variation are hallmarks of cancer.  Recent advances in sequencing technology have uncovered a large amount of intra-tumoral heterogeneity in both gene expression and chromosomal copy number across a range of tumors. These aberrations are often thought of as integrated and inherited genetic events within tumors.   However, new analyses are beginning to demonstrate that some copy number heterogeneity may not be stably inherited.  We identified the first enzyme capable of modulating site-specific copy gains and established that the localized chromatin states impact the propensity of a region to undergo rereplication and copy gain. This work established a role for epigenetic regulators and chromatin states in regulating copy number heterogeneity. Furthermore, we established that physiological signals such as hypoxia promote site-specific copy gains of drug-resistant oncogenes, which can contribute to drug resistance. This new perspective on cancer genetics helps explain copy number heterogeneity in tumors and has important clinical implications for characterizing and treating drug-resistant cancer.

My laboratory is expanding on these findings to:

  1. Identify new targets for site-specific copy gain that mediate important cancer phenotypes and characterize the chromatin pathways that regulate them,
  2. Conduct screens to identify regulators of DNA re-replication and site-specific copy gain,
  3. Determine how site-specific copy gain contributes to drug resistance,
  4. Characterize the molecular nature of regions that undergo site-specific copy gain.
Professional Research Assistant, Graduate Student, and Postdoctoral Fellow positions available.