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Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer CenterVanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center


H. Alex Brown, Ph.D.

Bixler-Johnson-Mayes Professor of Pharmacology

Contact Information:

Vanderbilt University Medical Center
417A Preston Research Building
Nashville, TN 37232-6600

Research Specialty

Research in Pharmacology, Biochemistry, Bioorganic, and Analytical Chemistry.

Research Description

Our research group is focused on understanding the roles of specific lipid molecular species and phospholipases in cellular functions and human disease. The laboratory is highly interdisciplinary with research faculty, postdoctoral fellows, staff and graduate students coming from a variety of backgrounds including chemistry, biochemistry, pharmacology, and mathematics. We combine systems biology approaches with mass spectrometry to profile changes in cellular lipid species (lipidomics). Much of our work is focused on understanding the role of phospholipase D (PLD) in growth factor and G protein coupled receptor (GPCR) signaling networks. With our collaborators we are developing novel chemical inhibitors of PLD and ancillaryproteins in the signaling network to better understand the role of PLD in cancers and tumorigenesis, as well as to explore its therapeutic potential. Areas of current research include: structure and enzymology of PLD; defining the signal transduction networks from the receptor tyrosine kinases and GPCRs to PLD; mechanisms by which phosphatidic acid (PA) regulates cell cycle, growth, and proliferation; roles of PLD in zebrafish; developing novel probes for defining specific lipid binding targets; precursor-product relationships of lipid enzymes using mass spectrometry; lipid peroxidation and antioxidant mechanisms; and advanced methods in lipid mass spectrometry.

A complete listing of our publications can be found at: