Jacob C Schwartz, PhD

Cancer Biology Program


Dr. Schwartz obtained a Ph.D. in Biophysics at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and studying transcription regulation by nucleic acids and nucleic acid mimics. He did postdoctoral training in the lab of Dr. Tom Cech at the University of Colorado Boulder and studied transcription regulation by an RNA-binding protein through an assembly process known as phase separation. He was awarded the Al Gilman award, two NIH NRSA awards, and an NIH K99 Pathway to Independence award. Dr. Schwartz joined the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Arizona in 2014. He was named a 2015 Kavli Fellow by the National Academy of Sciences and awarded a Research Scholar Grant by the American Cancer Society.

Cancer Focus

My laboratory studies transcription regulation by RNA-binding proteins. We focus on disordered proteins whose activity depends on the process of phase separation. We use biochemical and cell-based approaches to investigate mechanisms that the closely related proteins FUS, TDP-43, and EWSR1 control gene expression. Using this knowledge, we study therapeutic approaches and the mechanism for the EWS-FLI1 fusion protein to hijack EWSR1 activity and drive Ewing Sarcoma, the second most common bone cancer in children. As part of this research, we have developed new methods to investigate protein unfolding by chemical conjugation and to isolate cellular condensates for proteomics analysis.