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Dr. Jianjun Shen

Dr. Jianjun Shen

Associate Member

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Department of Molecular Carcinogenesis
The Virginia Harris Cockrell Cancer Research Center

My laboratory is located in Smithville, Texas, at UT Science Park

As Director of the Molecular Biology Resource Center of the Department of Molecular Carcinogenesis, and Director of Molecular Biology Facility Core of the NIEHS Center for Research on Environmental Disease (CRED), I consult, advise and collaborate with over 40 faculty members. My research efforts thus focus on the development and utilization of molecular biology, proteomic and genomic techniques to study cancer and other environmental disease. In particular, my proteomic approach is to utilize abundant protein depletion, low abundance protein enrichment, protein separation by 2-D gel electrophoresis and/or liquid chromatography to characterize genetic models of carcinogenesis that have been developed in the Department. I also use these techniques to study human cancers (such as colon, lung and pancreatic) for the discovery of biomarkers. The following are two examples of many collaborative research projects:

Pancreatic cancer has a very poor prognosis and represents the fourth leading cause of all cancer deaths for both men and women in the United States. Despite the recent accumulation of a large body of data regarding molecular characterization of the disease, to date no biomarkers have emerged for effective diagnosis and treatment. Collaborating with Dr. Donghui Li (Department of Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology) and Dr. Maria Person (The University of Texas-Austin), I previously employed a proteomic approach of protein separation using 2-D gel electrophoresis, and protein identification by mass spectrometry to identify potential biomarker(s) from the tissue samples of pancreatic adenocarcinoma, chronic pancreatitis, and the normal pancreas. Currently, we have just established a glycoprotein enrichment protocol and are attempting to identify differentially expressed glycoproteins between individuals with pancreatic cancer alone and those with both pancreatic cancer and diabetes.

Many MD Anderson Science Park faculty and NIEHS CRED Center members are utilizing animal models for their researches. In particular, mouse skin has been used extensively as a model system to study the development of cancer and other diseases. To maximize the efficiency of the Facility Core’s proteomics efforts and its usefulness to these investigators, knowledge of protein spot IDs gained in one model should be easily available for future investigations. A few years ago, I obtained a CRED pilot project grant to create a reference map of mouse skin protein to help guide future projects; this has been roughly patterned after analogous databases at the Swiss-Prot website. Utilizing this reference mouse skin protein database and in collaboration with CRED members, Drs. John DiGiovanni (The University of Texas-Austin) and Susan Fischer (Department of Molecular Carcinogenesis), we have conducted proteomics-based research on such animal models as BK5.IGF-I transgenic, K14.COX-2 transgenic, and tumor promotion-sensitive DBA/2 and promotion-resistant C57BL/6 mice with different genetic susceptibility to two-stage skin carcinogenesis. Protein interaction networks are predicted using commercial available software programs, such as Ingenuity Pathway Analysis, with the input of differentially expressed proteins identified from each animal model. Taken together, these analyses guide us to better understand potential molecular mechanisms of skin cancer carcinogenesis.



MDACC Faculty

Program Affiliation:

Program in Molecular Carcinogenesis

Contact Information

Phone: 512.237.9558


Office: MDA SPRD SRM1.304 (Unit 116)

Title: Associate Professor


Ph.D. - Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - 1992