616.234.5000

Payton Stevens, Ph.D.

Payton Stevens, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral fellow, Williams Laboratory
616.234.5652

 

Biography

Dr. Payton Stevens earned both his B.S. in biology and Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Kentucky, where his studies largely focused on the role Erbin plays in colon cancer initiation and progression. In 2015, he was awarded a prestigious, three-year Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA for Individual Predoctoral Fellows (F31) from the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health to support his colon cancer research. Now, as a postdoctoral fellow in the Williams Lab at Van Andel Research Institute, he will continue to work in the field of cancer progression and metastasis while focusing on Wnt signaling and cell motility.

 

 

 

Current research focus

Pancreatic cancer has one of the lowest rates of patient survival, partially due the aggressive nature of the cancer and late diagnosis. Only 10 to 15 percent of patients have primary tumors that can be removed, while the remainder of the patients have tumors that have either spread locally or to distant organs. Understanding the mechanisms of how these metastatic cancer cells increase their mobility and invade other tissues is important to the long-term goal of improving therapies for late-stage pancreatic cancer patients.

While Wnt signaling is primarily studied in tissue development and stem cells, the role this particular type of signaling plays in cancer cell motility is often underappreciated. Through the use of molecular, cellular and murine model systems, Dr. Stevens plans to evaluate how Frizzleds, the receptors involved in Wnt signaling, contribute to pancreatic cell motility. A three-dimensional tumor organoid system will be used to confirm these results and also to help understand how these receptors may be pharmacologically targeted to inhibit their invasive characteristics.

Education & Training

Ph.D. in cellular and molecular biochemistry, University of Kentucky (Adviser: Dr. Tianyan Gao)
Thesis: The Function of Erbin, a scaffold protein, as a tumor suppressor in colon cancer

B.S., Department of Biology, University of Kentucky

Awards & External Funding

To view lists of Dr. Stevens’ awards and external funding click below.

Read More

Third place in the University of Kentucky Office of Biomedical Education’s “Art of Science” scientific imaging competition (2018)

Oral presenter, Markey Cancer Center Day, University of Kentucky (2017)

First place overall poster award, Markey Cancer Center Day, University of Kentucky (2017)

Oral presenter, Markey Cancer Center–Meet the Researcher Guest Speaker Session (2017)

Selected through an internal competition as the representative for the University of Kentucky to apply for the National Cancer Institute’s Predoctoral to Postdoctoral Transition Fellowship (F99/K00) (2017)

Selected to attend the competitive AACR: Translational Cancer Research for Basic Scientists Workshop in Boston, Mass. (2016)

Travel award, University of Kentucky Graduate School, AACR Precision Medicine Series: Targeting the Vulnerabilities of Cancer Conference (2016)

Awarded second place poster award in the Student/Basic Science category, Markey Cancer Center Day, University of Kentucky (2015)

Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA for Individual Predoctoral Fellows (F31), National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health (2015)

Travel award, American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) Experimental Biology Conference (2015)

Poster of Distinction, Digestive Disease Week Conference (2010)

Publications

To view lists of Dr. Stevens’ selected publications, abstracts and oral presentations click below.

Selected Publications

Smith AJ, Wen YA, Stevens PD, Liu J, Wang C, Gao T. 2016. PHLPP negatively regulates cell motility through inhibition of Akt activity and integrin expression in pancreatic cancer cellsOncotarget7(7):7801–7815.

Li X, Stevens PD, Liu J, Yang H, Wang W, Wang C, Zeng Z, Schmidt MD, Yang M, Lee EY, Gao T. 2014. PHLPP is a negative regulator of RAF1, which reduces colorectal cancer cell motility and prevents tumor progression in miceGastroenterology 146(5):1301-12 e1-10.

Wen YA, Stevens PD, Gasser ML, Andrei R, Gao T. 2013. Downregulation of PHLPP expression contributes to hypoxia-induced resistance to chemotherapy in colon cancer cellsMol Cell Biol33(22):4594–4605.

Liu J, Stevens PD, Eshleman NE, Gao T. 2013. Protein phosphatase PPM1G regulates protein translation and cell growth by dephosphorylating 4E binding protein 1 (4E-BP1)J Biol Chem288(32):23225–23233.

Li X, Stevens PD, Yang H, Gulhati P, Wang W, Evers BM, Gao T. 2013. The deubiquitination enzyme USP46 functions as a tumor suppressor by controlling PHLPP-dependent attenuation of Akt signaling in colon cancerOncogene 32(4):471–478.

Gulhati P, Zaytseva YY, Valentino JD, Stevens PD, Kim JT, Sasazuki T, Shirasawa S, Lee EY, Weiss HL, Dong J, Gao T, Evers BM. 2012. Sorafenib enhances the therapeutic efficacy of rapamycin in colorectal cancers harboring oncogenic KRAS and PIK3CACarcinogenesis 33(9):1782–1790.

Liu J, Stevens PD, Li X, Schmidt MD, Gao T. 2011. PHLPP-mediated dephosphorylation of S6K1 inhibits protein translation and cell growthMol Cell Biol 31(24):4917–4927.

Liu J, Stevens PD, Gao T. 2011. mTOR-dependent regulation of PHLPP expression controls the rapamycin sensitivity in cancer cells. J Biol Chem286(8):6510–6520.

Gulhati P, Bowen KA, Liu J, Stevens PD, Rychahou PG, Chen M, Lee EY, Weiss HL, O’Connor KL, Gao T, Evers BM. 2011. mTORC1 and mTORC2 regulate EMT, motility, and metastasis of colorectal cancer via RhoA and Rac1 signaling pathwaysCancer Res 71(9):3246–3256.

Larson Y, Liu J, Stevens PD, Li X, Li J, Evers BM, Gao T. 2010. Tuberous sclerosis complex 2 (TSC2) regulates cell migration and polarity through activation of CDC42 and RAC1J Biol Chem 285(32):24987–24998.

Abstracts

Stevens PD, Wen Y, Gao T. 2016. The tumor-suppressor function of Erbin in colon cancer. AACR Precision Medicine Series–Targeting the Vulnerabilities of Cancer Meeting, no. B32. Miami, Fla.

Stevens PD, Wen Y, Gao T. 2015. Erbin-mediated regulation of colon cancer. FASEB J 29:724.6.

Stevens PD, Yang M, Gao T .2013. The role of ERBIN in suppressing migration in colon cancer. Cancer Res 73(8):S-1478.

Stevens PD, Gasser M, Andrei R, Gao T. 2012. Loss of PHLPP is associated with chemotherapy resistance in colon cancer cells. Gastroenterology 142(5):S-522-S-523.

Gulhati P, Bowen KA, Liu J, Stevens PD, Rychahou P, Chen M, Lee EY, Weiss H, O’Connor KL, Gao T, Evers BM. 2011. mTORC1 and mTORC2 regulate EMT, motility and metastasis of colorectal cancer via RHOA and RAC1 signaling pathways. Gastroenterology 140(5):S-162.

Stevens PD, Li X, Gao T. 2011. The role of PHLPP in regulating colon cancer cell migration and metastasis. Gastroenterology 140(5):S-822-S-823.

Liu J, Stevens PD, and Gao T. 2011. Protein phosphatase PHLPP regulates protein translation and cell size through directly dephosphorylating p70 S6 kinase. AACR 102nd Annual Meeting, no. 3837. Orlando, Fla.

Stevens PD, Liu J, Li X, Rychahou PG, Evers BM, and Gao T. 2010.  The role of PHLPP in regulating cell migration and metastasis. Gastroenterology 138(5):731.

Oral Presentations

May 2017
Erbin inhibits colon cancer progression by antagonizing KSR1-facilitated RAS/RAF signaling
Selected student speaker
Markey Cancer Center Annual Research Day, University of Kentucky

April 2017
Selected as the graduate student representative of a cancer research panel discussion
Markey Cancer Center Meet the Researcher Guest Speaker Session, University of Kentucky

Dec. 2016
My path to a research career
Selected speaker
Biomedical Career Seminar, Markey Cancer Center Career Training in Oncology Program, University of Kentucky

Oct. 2016
The role of Erbin in colon cancer
Student Seminar Series, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, University of
Kentucky

May 2016
The tumor suppressor function of Erbin in colon cancer
Selected student speaker
Department of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, Annual Retreat, University of Kentucky 

April 2016
High-fat diet induced PPAR-delta activity increases stemness
Student Seminar Series
Department of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, University of Kentucky

April 2015
Erbin-mediated regulation of colon cancer
Student Seminar Series
Department of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, University of Kentucky