Stephen Byers


Professor of Oncology, Director, GUMC Shared Resources
Associate Director for Shared Resources


Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center (LCCC)
General profile


+1 202-687-1813




Stephen Byers was educated in the UK and Australia. He was a Ford Foundation Scholar and came to the US in 1982 as a Rockefeller Foundation Fellow. He has authored more than 140 papers and patents in the areas of, cell adhesion, chemoprevention and the development of anti-cancer drugs. In 2003 with Dr. Aydin Tozeren, he published “New Biology for Engineers and Computer Scientists”. This book was amongst the first to recognize that Systems Biology/Medicine would require the efforts of individuals with strong quantitative skills who need to be educated in the fundamentals of “New Biology”. His laboratory has three major interests. The first relates to the role of the cadherin/catenin system in carcinogenesis, the second to studies of the anti cancer actions of vitamins A and D and cancer drug development and the third to interactions among NF?b, TGF?, wnt and vitamin D pathways. In the early-mid 1980s as a junior faculty member, with Martin Dym he discovered the role of Matrigel in promoting differentiation and developed the first examples of commercial dual environment culture chambers. He went on the demonstrate the role of E-cadherin and ?-catenin in promoting epithelial-mesenchymal transitions in breast cancer and discovered the role of cadherin-11 in this process. In the mid-late 1990s his group demonstrated that phosphorylation of key residues in ?-catenin promoted its degradation and ubiquitination and resulted in oncogenic transformation. Together with Dr. Shah his laboratory was the first to show the interaction of the vitamin A and D pathways in the regulation of ?-catenin signaling and showed that partial vitamin D antagonists could act as specific anti-cancer agents in cells that express activated ?-catenin. In 2011 his laboratory discovered the long sought after tubulin tyrosine carboxypeptidase and he has resurrected his training in chemistry to become more focused on the development of anticancer drugs, the computational repositioning of existing FDA-approved drugs for alternative targets with Dr. Dakshanamurthy, and metabolomic profiling of serum and urine as a means of predicting cancer patient outcome. Dr. Byers is a Professor and an Associate Director at the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, Georgetown University with appointments in the Departments of Oncology and Biochemistry, Molecular and Cellular Biology. Currently he is Director of the Lombardi Shared Resources, Director of the Translational Technologies Component of the Georgetown-Howard Universities Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA), a member of the Tumor Biology and Biochemistry, Molecular and Cellular Biology Programs and is on the boards of Adherex Technologies, Sarfez Pharmaceuticals, Adheron Therapuetics and ScienceExchange.


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  • Postdoc (1984) Georgetown University, Cell Biology
  • PhD (1981) University of Queensland, Australia, Endocrinology
  • BSc (1975) Liverpool University, UK, Biochemistry