David Shackelford

David B Shackelford

Associate Professor, Medicine, University of California Los Angeles


10833 Le Conte Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90095 AR-255


Member, CTSI, Cell & Developmental Biology GPB Home Area, I3T Theme


My research focuses on understanding how mutations in the AMPK and mTOR signaling pathways lead to altered metabolism and cell growth in human tumors. The AMPK-mTORC1 pathways lie at the intersection of oncogenic signaling and tumor metabolism. I am interested in understanding at a molecular level how loss of function and gain of function mutations in these signaling pathways alter growth signals and metabolic pathways to fuel tumor growth. The accelerated rate of growth in aggressive tumors creates a dependence on sustaining high metabolic rates, which also represents the tumor?s Achilles? heel. During my current work on lung and brain tumors I have focused on exploiting the tumor?s Achilles? heel, by disabling the machinery that drives tumor metabolism with drugs traditionally used to treat metabolic disease. Drugs such as biguanides are able to induce catastrophic metabolic stress and preferentially induce cell death in tumors. These studies open up the very real possibility of using therapeutics that were originally designed to treat metabolic disease as anti-cancer drugs.