University of Nebraska Medical Center

Jennifer Black, PhD

Professor, UNMC Eppley Institute for Research in Cancer and Allied Diseases
Research focus: Protein kinase C and PP2A signaling in colon, pancreas and endometrial cancer; targeting translational control in tumors


Jennifer Black

Jennifer Black, PhD, also holds a courtesy appointment in the UNMC Department of Genetics, Cell Biology & Anatomy.

Research Interests

Abnormalities in cellular signaling networks involved in control of cell growth, cell cycle progression, differentiation, survival and migration play a key role in the transformed phenotype. Targeted therapy, or precision medicine, is designed to interfere with signals that are subverted during malignancy and thus restore normal control mechanisms.  Our laboratory investigates the role of members of the protein kinase C (PKC) family of serine/threonine kinases, and downstream PP2A, AKT/PI3K and ERK/MAPK pathways, in maintenance of epithelial homeostasis and the impact of alterations in these pathways in colon, endometrial and pancreatic cancer. Our recent work focuses on dysregulated protein synthesis as a target for cancer therapy.  Hyperactive protein synthesis is a hallmark of cancer required for efficient accumulation of oncogenic proteins such as growth factors, survival factors, and cell cycle regulators in tumor cells. We are exploring the regulation of protein synthesis by a PKC→PP2A signaling axis and are evaluating the potential of a novel class anticancer agents, Small Molecule Activators of PP2A (SMAPs), for restoration of translational control, tumor suppression, and sensitization of tumor cells to targeted therapies.