The Center for Cancer and Metabolism (CCM) is a center funded through the National Institutes of Health/National Institute of General Medical Sciences Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) program. The CCM was established in 2017 with the receipt of an $11 million Phase 1 COBRE grant award.

The CCM supports four research projects from junior faculty members at UK whose research is dedicated to defining the role of metabolism in the development and treatment of cancer. Because these research projects are led by junior faculty / early-stage investigators, the CCM is heavily focused on developing their independent research careers and jump-starting their research into this exciting new area of cancer research. Support from the CCM, which provides them with rich mentoring experiences from both basic and clinical researchers, enhances their success in competing for eventual independent, extramural grant support.

Thematically, CCM research is linked through a focus on cancer and metabolism – specifically capitalizing on highly specialized expertise in redox biology, cancer cell signaling, systems biochemistry, and data sciences. This environment is bolstered by the CCM’s two research core facilities in Metabolism and Imaging, which contribute sophisticated capabilities to create an integrated framework that furthers cancer-metabolism research. 

CCM Directors

The CCM is co-directed by Dr. Daret St. Clair, PhD, and Binhua “Peter” Zhou, MD, PhD.

Daret St. Clair’s research focuses on investigating the fundamental mechanisms by which reactive oxygen species (ROS) and reactive nitrogen species (RNS) contribute to normal tissue injury and cancer formation. Her laboratory was the first to clone the human gene for the primary superoxide removal enzyme in the mitochondria, manganese superoxide dismutase (MnSOD), an initial study that has been expanded into several separate but related projects.
Peter Zhou’s research has demonstrated that overexpression of HER2/neu activates the PI3-K/Akt signaling pathway, resulting in cell-cycle disruption, proliferation, and drug-resistance in breast cancer. His laboratory also systematically characterized the role and regulation of Snail and Twist, two key transcriptional factors, in the EMT and breast cancer. He discovered that Snail is a labile protein subject to the regulation of phosphorylation and ubiquitination and that inflammatory cytokines induce EMT and metastasis by stabilizing Snail.


Using CCM services
It is imperative that all users of CCM facilities, services, and/or equipment cite the COBRE NIH grant in their publications and other materials. The following language is an example of how to cite CCM facilities funded through the COBRE program in your acknowledgements:

Research reported in this publication was supported by the University of Kentucky Center for Cancer and Metabolism, funded through the NIH/NIGMS COBRE program under grant number P20 GM121327.