Robert Lewis, PhD

Professor, Eppley Cancer Institute

Courtesy Appointments:

Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

Department of Pathology & Microbiology

Program Leader, Cancer Genes and Molecular Regulation Program,

Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center


Phone:  402-559-8290
Fax:  402-559-4651
E-Mail: Robert Lewis

Robert Lewis, PhD


PhD - University of Florida, 1983, Physiology 

Research Interests

Our lab uses biochemistry, molecular biology and cell biology techniques to understand intracellular mechanisms regulating cell growth and differentiation. For more information, please refer to the Lewis Lab web page.

Selected Funded Projects

Nebraska Center for Molecular Target Discovery and Development (NIGMS Center of Biomedical Research Excellence, P20 GM121316)

NIGMS COBREs (Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence) support the establishment and development of innovative, state-of-the-art biomedical research centers at institutions in IDeA-eligible states through awards for three sequential five-year phases.

COBRE Phase 1 awards aim to build capacity in an area of biomedical research through the establishment of a center of excellence that helps develop a critical mass of investigators who are able to compete effectively for independent research funding and improve infrastructure in the center’s research area.

The goal of the Nebraska Center for Molecular Target Discovery and Development COBRE is to establish and expand physical and intellectual resources at UNMC and throughout the University of Nebraska system that will catalyze the ability of its faculty to define, validate, and develop potential therapies against molecular targets for clinically important diseases.

The Center aims to maximize investment from both the supporting COBRE award and UNMC to enhance the research capabilities of the Institution, expand the translational capabilities of its faculty, facilitate career advancement of promising junior faculty in the area of targeted therapeutics, and efficiently drive discovery and development for the improvement of human health in Nebraska and across the nation.

This Center will (1) create critical infrastructure for the discovery and validation of molecular effectors critical to the development of disease, and (2) deliver training and mentoring to promising new investigators willing and able to use that infrastructure to validate those effectors as therapeutic targets, identify small molecules for their manipulation, and create in vitro and in vivo preclinical models for their development as novel therapies.

Center investigators bring a breadth of cutting-edge expertise necessary to accomplish this vision. They share a common belief that many diseases can be effectively classified and characterized through detailed genomic, genetic, and molecular analyses to identify drivers and vulnerabilities from which will emerge unique therapeutic approaches.

To realize this shared vision, the Center and its investigators will: 1) Establish an Administrative Core and mentoring programs to support and enhance research in target discovery and development; 2) Establish a critical mass of investigators focused on the identification, validation, and development of therapeutic targets for disease treatment; and 3) Increase research capacity through scientific cores for high-throughput chemical, RNAi and computational screening, mass spectrometry, target validation and other investigative needs of the research community as they develop.

Ongoing projects supported by COBRE supplemental funding:

* Development of Spatial Transcriptomics Capability: Consistent with the scope of the CMTDD mission, the aim of this supplemental request is to purchase a MERSCOPE (Vizgen, Inc.) and provide spatial transcriptomics capability to early-stage investigators of the CMTDD and other COBREs in the University of Nebraska system. MERSCOPE will be a cornerstone of the CMTDD omics resource, which will lower the cost barrier for investigators whose research would benefit from the generation and analysis of complex data sets.

* Pancreatic Cancer Variant Analysis of the All of Us Cohort: An effort led by previous CMTDD research project leader Nicholas Woods, PhD, this project will utilize the NIH All of Us database to identify variants in a diverse cohort of pancreatic cancer patients and evaluate specific gene sets associated with PDAC tumorigenesis, including alcohol responsive genes, and differentially expressed proteins in PDACs originating in black patients. Additionally, Dr. Woods will perform a discovery GWAS analysis to identify variants associated with PDAC development in the All of Us cohort and examine their predicted functional consequences in selected PDAC subtype specification genes. The successful completion of these aims has the potential to improve our understanding of the drivers of PDAC subtype specification, which could be developed to improve overall patient survival by optimizing treatment strategies.


Selected Publications