Mark Nichols, Ph.D.
Associate Dean for Research
Associate Professor, Receptor Pharmacology
Biomedical Sciences, School of Medicine
BA (Biochemistry), University of California, Berkeley
PhD (Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry), Yale University
Postdoctoral Fellow, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg
Research Associate, European Molecular Biology Laboratory, EMBL, Heidelberg
Research in Dr. Nichols’ lab involved study of steroid hormone receptors, primarily the estrogen receptors alpha and beta (ERa, ERß), and their role in normal, as well as in cancer tissue. Dr. Nichols has developed in vitro model systems that allow (a) the analysis of the effect of estrogen receptor (ER) mutations, some found in breast cancers, on antihormone/SERM resistance and (b) screening of novel compounds for ER-subtype selective ligands. Better understanding of ligand activation of ERs should lead to improved endocrine therapies for treating and perhaps preventing breast and other estrogen responsive cancers.
He is a consultant, expert witness, and biomedical researcher in molecular pharmacology, oncology, endocrinology for 20+ years with a focus on estrogens, tamoxifen regulated Cre/Flp recombinases for gene manipulation, protein receptors, gene expression, breast cancers and endocrine tumors. Expertise includes molecular mechanisms of drug and enzyme action, molecular biology, mutagenesis, cloning, signal transduction, genomic regulation, cell cycle, apoptosis, and CME, with peer-reviewed publications in 20 biomedical journals, funding from NIH (NIDDK, NCI), DOD CDRMP, Komen Fdn, American Cancer Society, inventor on a biotechnology patent, knowledge of yeast genetics, pharmaceutical drug mechanisms and therapeutic development.
He has also done consulting for law firms- biomedical topics- scientific strategy, search and discovery. Work-product led to victory in hormone/lung cancer patient case; Consultant on estrogen/progestin HRT in breast cancer patients (2 cases); Expert witness in a patent case- generic drug application to FDA with excellent settlement; Consultant for legal cases on risks of contraceptive hormones.
Pitt Innovator Award, University of Pittsburgh, 2006
Hillman Fellow in Innovative Cancer Research, University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, 2004-2007
Grant Reviewer of the Year, 2016
2001 Mini-MBA for Biomedical Scientists.
Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business, University of Pittsburgh
2004 From Basic Research to Therapeutic Use: What Every Scientist Needs to Know.
Limbach Entrepreneurial Center, University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute
2010 Clinical Research Coordinator Orientation.
University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine, and the Office of Clinical Research.
2011 The Commercialization Pathway: Short course series in Intellectual Property.
Offices of Enterprise Development, and Technology Management, University of Pittsburgh.
2011 NIH Regional Seminar for NIH Program Funding and Grants, Scottsdale, AZ.
2013 NIH Regional Seminar for NIH Program Funding and Grants, Baltimore, MD.
2015 Grant Writers Seminar and Workshop: Training in the Art of Grantsmanship, by GWSW, LLC.
Selected Publications/ Patent
- Nichols, M. (2015) New directions for drug-resistant breast cancer: the CDK4/6 inhibitors. Future Med Chem. 2015 Aug 7:1473-1481.
- Kim SW, Fishilevich E, Arango-Argoty G, Lin Y, Liu G, Li Z, Monaghan AP, Nichols M, & John B. (2015) Genome-wide transcript profiling reveals novel breast cancer-associated intronic sense RNAs. PLoS ONE 10(3): e0120296. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0120296, March 23, 2015
- Nichols M, Cheng P, Liu Y, Kanterewicz B, Hershberger PA, McCarty Jr KS. (2010) Breast cancer derived M543V mutation at helix 12 of ERa inverts response to estrogen and SERMs, Breast Cancer Research & Treatment, 120:761-8. [Epub 2009 Jun 13 ahead of print]
- Kim SW, Li Z, Moore PS, Monaghan AP, Chang Y, Nichols M, and John B. (2010) A sensitive nonradioactive northern blot method to detect small RNAs. Nucleic Acids Research, 38(7): e98. Epub 2010 Jan 15 (A top ten paper in NAR 2010-2012)
- Nichols M and Steinman RA. (2009) A recombinase-based palindrome generator capable of producing random shRNA libraries, J Biotechnol, 143:79-84.
- Nichols M and Steinman RA. U.S. Patent 7,524,653 (awarded March 2009, filed May 2003). Small interfering RNA libraries and methods of synthesis and use. USPTO, 2009.
- Hershberger PA, Stabile LP, Kanterewicz B, Rothstein ME, Gubish CT, Land S, Shuai Y, Siegfried JM, & Nichols M. (2009) Estrogen receptor beta (ERß) subtype-specific ligands increase transcription, p44/p42 mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK) activation and growth in human non-small cell lung cancer cells. J Steroid Biochem Molec Biol.116: 102-109.
- Nichols M. (2007) The fight against tamoxifen resistance in breast cancer therapy: a new target in the battle? Molecular Interventions, 7:13-6.