Research Groups

Frank Brombacher

Cancer Genomics

Group Leader

Research Interests and Description

Group Members

Luiz Zerbini

International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology
Wernher and Beit Building (South)
Anzio Road, Observatory 7925
Cape Town, South Africa

Tel.: +27-21-650-7627
Fax: +27-21-406-6060


University of Sao Paulo (USP),Molecular Virology,  São Paulo, Brazil, PhD, 1999
Federal University of Sao Paulo, Paulista Medicine School,  São Paulo, Brazil, Master in Science, 1993
Campinas State University (UNICAMP),  Campinas, Brazil, BSc in Biomedical Sciences, 1989

Career History

Since Dec 2016, Interim Director, International Centre for Genetic engineer and Biotechnology, Cape Town, South Africa
Since 2009, Group Leader Cancer Genomics Group, ICGEB Cape Town, South Africa
2004-2009, Faculty Instructor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA
2004-2009, Associate Director, Research Proteomics, BIDMC Genomics Center and DFHC Proteomics Core, Boston, USA
2003-2004, Senior Research Scientist, BIDMC Genomics Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA
1999-2003, Postdoctoral Fellow, BIDMC Genomics Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA
1994-1995, Assistant Professor, Department of Microbiology, Paulista Medicine School, São Paulo, Brazil

Teaching Activity

Since 2009, Organiser of seven ICGEB Workshops in the field of cancer, bioinformatics and non-communicable diseases,
2005-2009, Scientific Advisor, Continuing Umbrella of Research Experience (CURE), Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center, Boston USA

2004-2006, Scientific Advisor, Project Success, Office of Diversity and Community Partnership at Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA
2002, Lecturer, CBAB Course, Brazilian-Argentinean Biotechnology Center/Partnership, São Paulo, Brazil
1996-1999, Lecturer, Biological Science Course, Campinas State University, São Paulo, Brazil
1994-1995, Assistant Professor, Department of Microbiology, Paulista Medicine School, São Paulo, Brazil
1992-1993, Lecturer, Biomedical Sciences Course, Paulista School of Medicine, São Paulo, Brazil

Scientific Activity

The overall goals of the laboratory are to utilize genomics and proteomics tools and signal transduction resources to accelerate comparative analysis of aberrant gene expression in carcinogenesis and to study alterations in signal transduction pathways during development of cancers. Areas of research include: regulation of gene expression by transcription factors, the role of receptor tyrosine kinases in cancer malignancies, aberrant gene expression in carcinogenesis and alterations in signal transduction pathways and gene translocations.

Selected publications

Zerbini LF on PubMed

Paccez JD, Duncan K, Correa RG, Parker MI and Zerbini LF. Inactivation of GSK3β and activation of NF-κB pathway via Axl represents an important mediator of tumorigenesis in Esophageal Squamous Cell Carcinoma. Molecular Biology of the Cell. 1:821-31. 2015

Adeola HA, Soares NC, Paccez PD, Kaestner L, Blackburn JM, Zerbini LF. Discovery of novel candidate urinary protein biomarkers for prostate cancer in a multi-ethnic cohort of South African patients via label-free mass spectrometry. Proteomics Clinical Applications. 9:597-609. 2015

Paccez J.D., Vogelsang M., Parker MI and Zerbini L.F. 2014. The receptor tyrosine kinase Axl in cancer: biological functions and therapeutic implications. International Journal of Cancer.  134: 1024-33. 2014

Zerbini L.F., Kumar M.K., Vasconcellos J.F., Paccez J.D., Gu X., Kung A.L., Libermann T.A. Computational repositioning and preclinical validation of pentamidine for renal cell cancer. Molecular Cancer Therapeutics. 13:1929-41.2014

Paccez J.D., Vasques G.J., Bhasin M., Correa R.G., Vasconcellos J.F., Gu X., Libermann T.L. and Zerbini L.F. The tyrosine receptor kinase Axl is an essential regulator of prostate cancer proliferation and tumor growth. Oncogene. 32:689-98s. 2013

Duncan K., Schäfer G., Vava A., Parker M.I and Zerbini L.F. Targeting neddylation in cancer therapy. Review. Future Oncology 8: 1461-70. 2012.

Tamura R.E, de Vasconcellos J.F, Sarkar D., Libermann T.A, Fisher P.B and Zerbini L.F. GADD45 proteins: central players in tumorigenesis. Review. Current Molecular Medicine 12(5):634-51. 2012

Bruns I., Czibere A.,  Fischer J.C, Roels F., Cadeddu R.P, Buest S., Bruennert DHuenerlituerkoglu, NH Stoecklein A.N, Singh R, Zerbini L.F, Jager  M, Kobbe G, Gattermann N, Kronenwett R, Brors B and Haas R. The hematopoietic stem cell in chronic phase CML is characterized by a transcriptional profile resembling normal myeloid progenitor cells and reflecting loss of quiescence. Leukemia. 23:892-9. 2009

Gu X., Zerbini L.F, Otu H, Joseph M.G, Grall F., Correa R.G, Libermann T.A. Reduced PDEF expression leads to an increase in cell motility, invasion and expression of mesenchymal genes in prostate cancer cells. Cancer Research 67: 4219-4226. 2007

Zerbini LF, Czibere A, Wang Y, Correa R.G, Out H, Joseph M, Takayasu Y, Silver M, Gu X, Li L, Sarkar D, Zhou JR., Fisher P.B and Libermann T.A. A novel pathway involving MDA-7/IL-24 mediates NSAID induced apoptosis of cancer cells. Cancer Research 66: 11922-31. 2006

Libermann T.A and Zerbini L.F. Targeting Transcription factors for Cancer Gene Therapy. Review. Current Gene Therapy 6: 17-33. 2006

Zerbini L.F and Libermann T.A. GADD45 deregulation in cancer: frequently methylated tumor suppressors and potential therapeutic targets. Clinical Cancer Research 11: 6409-6413. 2005

Zerbini L.F, Wang Y, Czibere A, Correa R.G, Cho J.Y, Ijiri K, Wei W, Joseph M, Gu X, Grall F, Goldring M.B, Zhou J.R and Libermann T.A. NF-kB mediated repression of GADD45a and g is essential for cancer cell survival. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 101:13618-13623. 2004 

Zerbini L.F, Wang Y, Cho JY and Libermann T.A. Constitutive activation of NF-kB p50/p65 and Fra-1 and JunD is essential for deregulated IL-6 expression in prostate cancer. Cancer Research 63:2206-2215. 2003

ICGEB Cape Town

Wernher and Beit Building (South)
UCT Campus
Anzio Road
Observatory 7925
Cape Town
Tel: +27-21-4066335
Fax: +27-21-4066060




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