Timothy A Bolger, PhD

Cancer Biology Program


Dr. Bolger received his undergraduate degree in Biochemical Sciences from Harvard University and his Ph.D. in Molecular Cancer Biology from Duke University, working with Dr. Tso-Pang Yao on the function and regulation of histone deacetylases. He was a postdoctoral fellow with Dr. Susan Wente at Vanderbilt University, where he focused on the functional connections between the gene expression processes of translation and mRNA nuclear export. He then moved to the University of Arizona. His lab studies the roles and regulation of RNA helicases in gene expression during steady-state and stress conditions and how they may become misregulated during aging and cancer.

Cancer Focus

The work in Dr. Bolger’s lab primarily focuses on how the critical process of protein synthesis is altered during different conditions. Specifically, his lab has shown that an enzyme, the RNA helicase Ded1/DDX3X, has an important role in regulating protein synthesis during conditions of cellular stress such as the lack of nutrients and/or the presence of toxins. These cellular stress pathways are often manipulated by cancer cells to promote their own growth and survival in tumors. In addition, multiple mutations in DDX3X have been identified in the brain cancer medulloblastoma, and Dr. Bolger’s lab is examining the impact of these mutations on the enzyme’s cellular function.