Raymond B Runyan, PhD

Cancer Biology Program


B.A. (Biology) Macalester College, 1972; M.S. (Genetics) Florida State University, 1976; PhD (Cell Biology and Anatomy) Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, 1983: Postdoctoral Fellow (Cell Biology), University of Connecticut Health Center,1993-84; Research Investigator (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology), University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, 1984-1986. Faculty, Assistant & Associate Professor, Cell Biology and Anatomy, University of Iowa 1986-1992; Associate & Full Professor, Cellular and Molecular Medicine, University of Arizona, 1992-present.

Cancer Focus

Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is the process by which epithelial cells change shape and become invasive. This is a normal process in the embryo that produces 3-dimensional structure. EMT is re-utilized in the pathologies of cancer metastasis and organ fibrosis in the adult. My lab has studied normal EMT during heart valve development for decades. We were the first to find that EMT is a transcriptionally regulated process mediated by members of the Transforming Growth Factor Beta (TGFb) family. As metastasis is a TGFb-regulated process in cancer, we explore the common elements of EMT between embryonic development and the mechanisms of cell invasion in both glioblastoma and colon cancer.