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Dr. Christine Hrycyna

Dr. Christine Hrycyna

Our main research interests are in the field of multidrug resistance in human cancer. Although numerous cancers can be successfully treated with ablative surgery, radiotherapy or chemotherapy, many cancers are intrinsically resistant to anti-cancer drugs or become resistant through the course of treatment. This broad-based cellular resistance to anti-cancer drugs results, in large part, from expression of a 170 kDa multidrug transporter or P-glycoprotein, encoded by the multidrug resistance MD R1 gene in humans. Many different human cancers express the MD R1 gene at levels sufficient to confer multidrug resistance and it can be estimated that approximately 50% of human cancers will express the gene at some time during therapy.

Therefore, it has become apparent that multidrug resistance in a clinical setting is an obstacle that must be overcome to treat cancers effectively. It is of obvious importance to fully understand how the transporter functions in order to combat this phenomenon clinically. Taking biochemical, molecular genetic, and cell biological approaches using both mammalian and microbial cell systems, the majority of our efforts focus on the elucidation of the mechanism of action of human P-glycoprotein and a related drug transporter MXR1 that is involved in mitoxantrone resistance. Ultimately, a complete understanding of these proteins could lead to the development of new inhibitory agents that could greatly facilitate the treatment of a large number of human cancers.

These drug transporters are members of a large superfamily of membrane transporters called the ATP-Binding Cassette (ABC) family. Through work with Pglycoprotein and MXR1, our interest in the field of transporters and their relation to cellular function and human disease has developed. In the future, we are also interested in identifying and studying other ABC transporters possibly linked to human diseases. We hope to gain further understanding of the basic mechanism of action of ABC transporters to elucidate their cellular functions both normally and in potential disease states.


  • B.A., Middlebury College, 1988
  • Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles, 1993
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, The Jane Coffin Childs Memorial Fund for Medical Research, 1997
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, 1998


  • Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award in Memory of Charles B. Murphy, 2007
  • Teaching for Tomorrow Award, 2006
  • Research Fellow National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, 1998
  • The Jane Coffin Childs Memorial Fund for Medical Research Postdoctoral Fellow, 1994


List of publications