University at Albany - State University of New York
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6th Annual Hogarty Family Foundation Lecture

Improving cancer Treatment: Understanding the role of drug resistance

by Susan P.C. Cole, Ph.D.

Susan P.C. Cole picture
  • Bracken Chair of Genetics & Molecular Medicine
  • Canada Research Chair in Cancer Biology
  • Queen's University in Kingston, Canada
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada

Thursday, March 26, 2015

About the Speaker

Susan P.C. Cole, PhD, is the Bracken Chair of Genetics & Molecular Medicine, and the Canada Research Chair in Cancer Biology at Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada.

Born and raised in Toronto, Dr. Cole obtained her undergraduate degree in Biochemistry and then her PhD in Pharmacology at Queen’s. After postdoctoral studies at the National Cancer Institute (NIH) in Bethesda, MD, where she studied chemical carcinogenesis, Dr. Cole returned to Queen’s where she is now Professor in the Department of Pathology & Molecular Medicine. Since the beginning of her independent research career, Dr. Cole has been interested in the molecular and biochemical mechanisms that limit the effectiveness of drugs used to treat cancer patients, and has published >200 articles in this research field. Most of her focus has been on MRP1, a protein that transports drugs out of cells. In addition to protecting cells from toxic chemicals, MRP1 also transports naturally occurring molecules that participate in cell-to-cell communication. Dr. Cole’s paradigm-shifting 1992 Science article first describing the cloning of the MRP1 transporter protein has been cited over 2500 times. Her discovery of MRP1 facilitated the discovery of additional related genes, and mutations in some of these genes are now known to cause genetic disorders ranging in severity from mild conjugated hyperbilirubinemia (MRP2) to a debilitating connective tissue disorder (ABCC6/MRP6) and more. Dr. Cole’s research team has continued to investigate basic structure-function relationships of MRP1 and related transport proteins, as well as their pharmacogenetic and clinical relevance.

Dr. Cole’s contributions to cancer pharmacology and biochemistry have been widely recognized. She was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (2000), and as a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (2011). She also received the Merck-Frosst Award, and Pfizer Senior Scientist Award of the Pharmacological Society of Canada, the Robert L. Noble Prize of the Canadian Cancer Society, and the National Cancer Institute of Canada Diamond Jubilee Award. In 2012, she was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. Dr. Cole also served Queen’s University as its first Deputy Provost (2010-2012) and as a member of the Board of Directors of PARTEQ, the technology transfer arm of the University. She was Deputy and Senior Editor of Molecular Cancer Therapeutics (2000-2012) and currently, Dr. Cole sits on the Editorial Board of Molecular Pharmacology.