Leszek Kotula, MD/PhD

Leszek Kotula, MD/PhD
Appointed 08/01/13
118 Weiskotten Hall
766 Irving Ave.
Syracuse, NY 13210

315 464-1690

Current Appointments

Hospital Campus

Research Programs and Affiliations

  • Biomedical Sciences Program
  • Research Pillars
  • Urology

Research Interests

  • Cancer biology, cell signaling, the role of actin cytoskeleton in tumor progression, mouse models of cancer

HealthLinkOnAir Radio Interview

10/02/14 WAVE complex as a therapeutic target in breast cancer

10/2/14 WAVE complex as a therapeutic target in breast cancer

11/21/13 An update on prostate cancer research


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Research Abstract

The goal of our research is to understand the molecular and cellular processes underlying human cancer. Cancer models are an important tool that we use to investigate the molecular changes, which occur as a normal cell transforms and progresses into a pre-malignant lesion, then a tumor, and finally metastatic disease. My lab developed a novel preclinical model of prostate cancer in mice by introducing a conditional knockout mutation of Abi1. The function of Abi1 is not fully understood. It appears to have a key role in growth factor receptor signaling and actin cytoskeleton remodeling. Importantly, our mouse model demonstrates that Abi1 is a tumor suppressor gene. We will use the Abi1 knockout mice to identify the molecular changes associated with the development of prostate cancer. This model will also enable us to dissect the mechanisms underlying Abi1's role in prostate cancer. These studies include the role of actin cytoskeleton dysregulation in tumor initiation and progression (i.e. the role of Abi1 in regulation of cellular adhesion and cell motility), regulation of c-Abl and PI-3 kinases by Abi1, and regulation of macropinocytosis (a type of endocytosis) by Abi1. In addition, we plan to evaluate Abi1 as a possible target for drug development in anti-cancer therapy. These studies will ultimately help us develop personalized anti-cancer therapies. Finally, recent studies indicate that knowledge from the prostate Abi1 knockout mouse model will be useful for studies of mechanisms leading to other types of cancer, such as breast, stomach, ovarian, and brain cancer, as well as leukemia.


Faculty Profile Shortcut: http://www.upstate.edu/faculty/kotulal
Eric Wohlford

Eric Wohlford

Eric Wohlford received a 2012 travel award from the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and spent two months in Kenya working in the lab of Rosemary Rochford, PhD, professor and chair of Upstate’s Department of Microbiology & Immunology. Eric studied the effects of malaria on B cells (producers of antibodies that fight infection) and Epstein-Barr Virus infection in the region. “Tropical medicine is unique, in that small, focused improvements in patient care make dramatic improvements in the well-being of patients,” he said.

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Download the MD/PhD 2014-15 Brochure. PDF document