banner USF Home College of Arts & Sciences OASIS myUSF USF A-Z Index

USF Home > College of Arts and Sciences > Cancer Biology Ph.D. Program

Mark McLaughlin
Professor

Contact

Office:
Phone: 813/745-2623
Email: Mark.McLaughlin@moffitt.org

Education

B.S.: Christian Brothers College, Memphis, TN, 1979.
Ph.D.: Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, 1983.
Postdoctoral Research: Rice University, 1983-1985.
Postdoctoral Research: The Ohio State University, 1985-1986.

Research

Our primary research focus is developing peptide nucleic acids (PNAs) that are water soluble and cell membrane permeable. PNAs are nuclease and protease resistant and so can persist in biological fluids like traditional small molecule drugs, but unlike small molecule drugs, PNAs block the expression of specific proteins instead of modifying the proteins function. PNAs act as antisense agents that block the expression of specific proteins like RNAi and other traditional antisense oligonucleotides. We are exploring the use of these novel drug-like PNAs to block the expression of several specific growth signalling proteins and anti-apoptotic proteins simultaneously. We hope that by blocking the expression of growth signalling proteins and anti-apoptotic proteins that cancer cells depend upon more than normal cells, that we can reprogram the cancer cells to become susceptible to death signals. Our studies which focus on the synthetic chemistry and biochemistry of these PNAs are always complemented by collaborative interactions with one or more traditional cancer biologists to study the effect of our PNA antisense agents on cells and more complex biological systems.