Biography

Dr. Whitehurst received her B.A. and B.S. in Chemistry and Biochemistry, respectively, from Virginia Tech in 1997. Dr. Whitehurst then obtained her Ph.D. from UT Southwestern in 2004 under the tutelage of Melanie Cobb, Ph.D. She continued her training as a postdoctoral fellow with Michael White, Ph.D., at UT Southwestern, during which time she was supported by fellowships from the Komen Foundation, DOD, and ACS. Following receipt of a Pathway to Independence Award (K99/R01) from the NCI, Dr. Whitehurst began her independent career in 2009.

The major theme of her work is to characterize the mechanisms that permit uncontrolled growth of tumor cells. She uses RNAi-based functional genomics to identify gene products that support viability and/or modulate chemotherapeutic sensitivity in tumor cells. This strategy led her to discover that tumor cells can depend on aberrantly activated gametogenic genes for survival. These genes, known collectively as cancer-testis antigens, are only expressed in the testis and tumors, making them ideal targets for therapeutic intervention.

Her current work is focused on using cell biological, biochemical, and whole animal studies to elaborate the contribution of these cancer-testes antigens to neoplastic phenotypes. Dr. Whitehurst’s research program is supported by grants from the National Cancer Institute and an Innovative Research Grant from Stand Up 2 Cancer.

Research Interest

  • Cancer biology
  • Cancer-testis antigens
  • Chemoresistance
  • Mitotic checkpoints
  • Signal transduction

Publications

Featured Publications LegendFeatured Publications

Cause and Consequence of Cancer/Testis Antigen Activation in Cancer.
Whitehurst AW Annu. Rev. Pharmacol. Toxicol. 2013 Oct
Differential cell responses to nanoparticle docetaxel and small molecule docetaxel at a sub-therapeutic dose range.
Wang EC, Sinnott R, Werner ME, Sethi M, Whitehurst AW, Wang AZ Nanomedicine 2013 Aug
Multiple cancer testis antigens function to support tumor cell mitotic fidelity.
Cappell KM, Sinnott R, Taus P, Maxfield K, Scarbrough M, Whitehurst AW Mol. Cell. Biol. 2012 Oct 32 20 4131-40
Symplekin specifies mitotic fidelity by supporting microtubule dynamics.
Cappell KM, Larson B, Sciaky N, Whitehurst AW Mol. Cell. Biol. 2010 Nov 30 21 5135-44
Tumor antigen acrosin binding protein normalizes mitotic spindle function to promote cancer cell proliferation.
Whitehurst AW, Xie Y, Purinton SC, Cappell KM, Swanik JT, Larson B, Girard L, Schorge JO, White MA Cancer Res. 2010 Oct 70 19 7652-61
Synthetic lethal screen identification of chemosensitizer loci in cancer cells.
Whitehurst AW, Bodemann BO, Cardenas J, Ferguson D, Girard L, Peyton M, Minna JD, Michnoff C, Hao W, Roth MG, Xie XJ, White MA Nature 2007 Apr 446 7137 815-9