Research Program: Cancer Discovery Platforms Bridging the Engineering-Biology Continuum
Strategic Theme: Drug Discovery
David Shapiro’s lab has spent over a decade studying estrogens, acting via estrogen receptor a (ERa), which plays a key role in most breast cancers. The Shapiro laboratory has leveraged its expertise in ERa action in cancer to identify new pathways of hormone action that drive proliferation, metastases, and therapy resistance, and new types of selective anticancer therapeutics. Shapiro’s lab has identified a pathway conserved from insects to humans, and between steroid hormones and peptide hormones in which mitogenic hormones, such as estrogen, and epidermal growth factor (EGF), elicit extremely rapid anticipatory activation of the stress sensor, the unfolded protein response (UPR). UPR activation is protective and is a powerful new prognostic marker in ERa positive breast cancer. Through collaborations with CCIL members, Shapiro is moving toward clinical trials and working to understand how the anticipatory UPR pathways control proliferation and therapy resistance in ERa positive breast, ovarian, and endometrial cancer cells.
Shapiro received his bachelor’s from Brooklyn College, before earning his PhD from Purdue University. Shapiro completed postdoctoral research at Stanford University Medical School and was named a Guggenheim Fellow at MIT’s Center for Cancer Research. Shapiro currently serves as a biochemistry professor at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.