Dr. Benjamin P. Weaver obtained his B.S. in Biochemistry (2001) and M.S. in Biology (2003) from Wichita State University. He obtained his Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (2009) from the University of Kansas Medical Center working in the laboratory of Dr. Glen K. Andrews. For post-doctoral training, he studied with Dr. Min Han with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) at the University of Colorado Boulder. In June 2017, he was appointed to a research faculty position in the lab of Dr. Han.

While working in the Han lab, Dr. Weaver discovered that CED-3 caspase had a non-apoptotic function to help limit supernumerary cell divisions of an epidermal stem-like cell type in C. elegans. He further found that this caspase required a UBR-type E3 ubiquitin ligase from the Arg/N-end rule to efficiently proteolytically cleave the non-apoptotic target LIN-28 in vivo.  Intriguingly, non-apoptotic caspase functions supporting cell vigor have been recognized as a rapidly emerging field across nematodes, flies, and mammals.

In September of 2018, Dr. Weaver joined the faculty of the Department of Pharmacology at UT Southwestern Medical Center as an Assistant Professor and Endowed Scholar in Biomedical Sciences. The over-arching theme of the Weaver lab is to understand: (1) how caspases with both cell death and cell vigor functions are differentially regulated and (2) how a given caspase is able to distinguish cell death from cell vigor substrates. To tackle these challenging questions, the Weaver lab employs a cross-disciplinary approach including genetics, proteomics and biophysical analyses. The Weaver lab utilizes C. elegans, mammalian cell culture, and in vitro models.

Research Interest

  • Caspases in Cell Vigor
  • CRISPR-Mediated Mutagenesis and Genomic-Scale Screens
  • Gene Regulatory Networks
  • Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • Molecular Basis of Disease
  • Protein Synthesis and Degradation
  • Proteomics
  • Structure-Function Analyses


Featured Publications LegendFeatured Publications

Tag team: Roles of miRNAs and Proteolytic Regulators in Ensuring Robust Gene Expression Dynamics.
Weaver BP, Han M Trends Genet. 2018 01 34 1 21-29
Coupled Caspase and N-End Rule Ligase Activities Allow Recognition and Degradation of Pluripotency Factor LIN-28 during Non-Apoptotic Development.
Weaver BP, Weaver YM, Mitani S, Han M Dev. Cell 2017 06 41 6 665-673.e6
Time to move the fat.
Weaver BP, Sewell AK, Han M Genes Dev. 2016 07 30 13 1481-2
CED-3 caspase acts with miRNAs to regulate non-apoptotic gene expression dynamics for robust development in C. elegans.
Weaver BP, Zabinsky R, Weaver YM, Lee ES, Xue D, Han M Elife 2014 Dec 3 e04265
Regulation of zinc-responsive Slc39a5 (Zip5) translation is mediated by conserved elements in the 3'-untranslated region.
Weaver BP, Andrews GK Biometals 2012 Apr 25 2 319-35
Zip4 (Slc39a4) expression is activated in hepatocellular carcinomas and functions to repress apoptosis, enhance cell cycle and increase migration.
Weaver BP, Zhang Y, Hiscox S, Guo GL, Apte U, Taylor KM, Sheline CT, Wang L, Andrews GK PLoS ONE 2010 Oct 5 10
The genetics of essential metal homeostasis during development.
Kambe T, Weaver BP, Andrews GK Genesis 2008 Apr 46 4 214-28
Novel zinc-responsive post-transcriptional mechanisms reciprocally regulate expression of the mouse Slc39a4 and Slc39a5 zinc transporters (Zip4 and Zip5).
Weaver BP, Dufner-Beattie J, Kambe T, Andrews GK Biol. Chem. 2007 Dec 388 12 1301-12
The mouse acrodermatitis enteropathica gene Slc39a4 (Zip4) is essential for early development and heterozygosity causes hypersensitivity to zinc deficiency.
Dufner-Beattie J, Weaver BP, Geiser J, Bilgen M, Larson M, Xu W, Andrews GK Hum. Mol. Genet. 2007 Jun 16 12 1391-9
Differential progression of neonatal diethylstilbestrol-induced disruption of the hamster testis and seminal vesicle.
Hendry WJ, Weaver BP, Naccarato TR, Khan SA Reprod. Toxicol. 2006 Apr 21 3 225-40

Honors & Awards

  • Endowed Scholar, UT Southwestern Medical Center
  • American Cancer Society Post-Doctoral Fellowship, CU Boulder
  • Joe R. Kimmel Award for Excellence in Biomedical Research, KU Medical Center

Professional Associations/Affiliations

  • American Association for the Advancement of Science (2001)
  • American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (2018)
  • Associate Member, Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center, UT Southwestern Medical Center (2018)
  • Genetics Society of America (2016)