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michael toneff, biology

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Michael Toneff PhD

Assistant Professor

  • PhD, Molecular and Cellular Biology (2011)

    Baylor College of Medicine (TX)

  • BS, Biology (2005)

    Ohio State University—Columbus (OH)

My primary research focus is on the regulatory mechanisms that endow cancer cells with aggressive phenotypes, including metastatic potential and resistance to standard-of-care therapies. One mechanism by which cancer cells exhibit these properties is by completely or partially undergoing an epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT), a process that normally occurs in a highly controlled manner during embryonic development and wound healing. Cells that undergo EMT become invasive, resist therapy and acquire cancer stem cell-like properties. Therefore, elucidating the molecular mechanisms by which cells acquire EMT properties is of significant interest and could ultimately uncover strategies to target this phenotype, thus resulting in more effective treatments for cancer.

Selected Publications

  • Toneff MJ, Sreekumar A, Tinnirello A, Den Hollander P, Habib S, Li S, Ellis MJ, Xin L, Mani SA, Rosen JM. The Z-cad dual fluorescent sensor detects dynamic changes between the epithelial and mesenchymal cellular states. BMC Biology, 2016.

  • Haricharan S, Dong J, Hein S, Reddy JP, Du Z, Toneff M, Holloway K, Hilsenbeck SG, Huang S, Atkinson R, Woodward W, Jindal S, Borges VF, Gutierrez C, Zhang H, Schedin PJ, Osborne CK, Tweardy DJ, Li Y. Mechanism and preclinical prevention of increased breast cancer risk caused by pregnancy. Elife, 2013.

  • Toneff, M.J., Du, Z., Dong, J., Huang, J., Sinai, P., Forman, J., Hilsenbeck, S., Schiff, R., Huang, S., Li, Y. Somatic expression of PyMT or activated ErbB2 induces estrogen-independent mammary tumorigenesis. Neoplasia, 2010.