Associate Professor of Pharmacology, Pathology, and Dermatology, Associate Director for Translational Research, Director; Melanoma Center, Director; Melanoma Therapeutics Program
SECONDARY APPOINTMENT(S)/ INSTITUTE(S)/ CENTER(S):
Pathology, Dermatology, Surgery, Penn Sate Hershey Cancer Institute, The Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences
GRADUATE PROGRAM AFFILIATIONS:
Genetics, Pharmacology, Cell and Molecular Biology, Integrative Biosciences, Biomedical Sciences: Translational Therapeutics Option
Ph.D., University of California, Riverside, 1997
Postdoctoral Training, Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, San Diego, 1997-2000
Dr. Robertson's research program focuses on malignant melanoma, which is the most deadly form of skin cancer. The central goal of his program is to unravel the biology and signaling pathways involved in melanoma tumor development in order to develop the next generation of therapeutic agents to treat this disease. Specifically, it involves identification and validation of novel therapeutic targets, discovery & development of new therapies and clinical evaluation of these drugs in patients. Generally, the types of studies occurring the Robertson laboratory are as follows. First, genetic, cell culture, animal, as well as human models are used to identify and validate the involvement of candidate melanoma causing genes in this disease. A recent example is the discovery of Akt3 involvement in ~70% of human melanomas. Second, drug screens and medicinal chemistry are used to identify and develop new therapeutic agents. A recent example is the melanoma treating drug ISC-4, which targets Akt3 signaling. Third, nanotechnology and bioengineering are used to better deliver experimental agents into cancer cells. A recent example of this is the use of nanoliposomes and ultrasound that deliver therapeutic siRNA into melanoma cells. Finally, agents are tested in the clinic for toxicity and tumor inhibitory efficacy. A recent example is a killed mycobacterium called CADI-5 that is being evaluated in clinical trials. The ultimate goal of Dr. Robertson's translational research program is to develop better therapeutics for the treatment of melanoma based on the biology of the disease.