Erik Martinez-Hackert is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. His research focuses on transforming growth factor beta (TGFβ) signaling pathways.
Dr. Martinez-Hackert received his Ph.D. from Rutgers University and completed his postdoctoral training at the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of America.
The Martinez-Hackert laboratory research goals of the laboratory are (1) to elucidate the functional and molecular mechanisms underlying specific TGFβ family signaling pathways, (2) to understand how dysregulation of these pathways causes disease in humans, and (3) to apply functional and mechanistic insights to identify protein-based inhibitors that target these pathways for therapeutic purposes. The lab is currently investigating the TGFβ family ligand Nodal and its regulators Cerberus and Lefty, as well as Activins and their regulators. Using cancer cell assays, Dr. Martinez-Hackert’s group has demonstrated that Cerberus profoundly suppresses aggressive phenotypes in certain human breast cancer cell lines, suggesting that Cerberus could work as a therapeutic in breast cancer treatment.