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Robert M. Tombes, Ph.D.

Massey Cancer Center research program membership

Cancer Cell Signaling

Affiliated leadership roles

Vice provost for life sciences and research, VCU

Department affiliations

Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, School of Medicine
Professor, Department of Biology, College of Humanities and Sciences


PhD, University of Washington (1986)

Research description

My current research is conducted in collaboration with Dr. Sarah C. Rothschild, a pediatric geneticist who studies leukemia using zebrafish models. My laboratory has used zebrafish and human cancer cells in culture to study signal transduction pathways that depend on activation by calcium ions. My research has focused on the role of calcium-dependent protein kinases to activate cell proliferation and differentiation pathways in zebrafish and human cells in culture. This work has been relevant to inherited disorders, such as polycystic kidney disease, cardiac defects, and leukemia.

Disease focus of research

Hematologic Malignancies, Genitourinary (GU)

Research keywords

Animal models,Bioinformatics,Cancer cell biology,Cell cycle regulation,Cell signaling,Epigenetics,Oncogenes,Proteomics,Signal transduction

Published research (during tenure as a Massey Cancer Center member)

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Contact information


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