About Nathan R. Wall, PhD


Professional Goal:
To see a cure for cancer in my professional lifetime.

Professional Experience:
The goal of my lab’s research is to investigate the contribution extracellular (exosomal) biomarkers make to the resistance of cancers to stress-induced cell death in the tumor microenvironment. Specifically, we plan to identify the functional role of inhibitors of apoptosis (IAPs) in promoting cancer cell survival in the presence of stress as well as investigate the functional significance of exosomal release of IAPs from stressed cancer cells.

As PI or co-Investigator on several previous university-, foundational- and NIH-funded grants, I have sought to define a novel survivin research niche that doesn’t directly compete with established investigators. The paradigm shift to focus less on the autonomous functions of the cancer cell and more on the heterotypic interactions that go on in the tumor microenvironment is just such a niche. I have thus laid the groundwork for this research by developing effective measures of characterizing the release of survivin to the extracellular space, the uptake of survivin into cancer cells and surrounding non-cancer cells, and its proliferative and therapy resistance-inducing mechanisms.

The current work builds logically on my prior work, and I have chosen to develop relationships in order to acquire the clinical samples that are needed to expand our in vitro findings in cell lines to translational questions with cancer patients.

Specialties: Cancer Biology, Tumor microenvironmental studies, Solid tumor as well as Hematopoietic disease, Exosomes, The inhibitor of apoptosis (IAP) protein Survivin, Biomarkers