Tom Curran, Ph.D., FRS

faculty photo
Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Department: Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Graduate Group Affiliations

Contact information
CHOP - Colket Translational Research Building
Room 4060
3501 Civic Center Boulevard
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Office: 267-426-2819
Fax: 267-426-2791
Education:
BSc (Hons) (Zoology)
University of Edinburgh, 1978.
PhD (Zoology and Anatomy)
Imperial Cancer Research Fund Laboratories and University College London, 1982.
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Description of Research Expertise

Research Interests
Brain tumors, brain development, genomics.
Key words: Brain, Development, Molecular Oncology, Reelin, sonic hedgehog, neuro-oncology, oncogenes

Description of Research
Our research addresses the molecular basis of normal and neoplastic growth in the developing nervous system. We hope that by understanding the normal processes that govern formation of the brain we will uncover new approaches for the treatment of rare but very devastating pediatric brain tumors. Research in the laboratory combines basic approaches with genomics and translational science in a broad-based effort. Our experimental strategies include mouse disease models, cell culture, genomics, human tumor samples, imaging and a range of molecular techniques.

Previously, we identified the reelin gene (Reln) whose protein product is a large extracellular protein that controls cell migration and is secreted by several early populations of neurons in the developing brain. We are now examining the molecular events downstream of Reln that mediate its function. To accomplish this we are developing several conditional mutant mouse lines and we are utilizing cell and molecular biology approaches.

We are taking genomic approaches to identify molecular changes and potential drug targets for several brain tumors including medulloblastoma, atypical teratoid/rhabdoid tumors and choroid plexus carcinomas. We developed a model system with a 100 percent incidence of spontaneous medulloblastoma for use in translational studies. Recently, we found that a small molecule inhibitor of the sonic hedgehog (Shh) pathway eliminated even large tumor masses in vivo. We are continuing to analyze the mechanism of action of several anticancer drugs in tumor cells and cancer models.

Rotation Projects
Opportunities are available to investigate the response of brain tumors to molecular targeted therapies in genetic mouse models. Opportunities are also available to investigate the molecular control of cell migration in the developing brain and signaling components of the Reelin pathway. Please contact Dr. Curran for available projects.

Lab personnel:
Jessica Ng Ph.D., Tae-Ju Park Ph.D., Mateusz Koptyra Ph.D., Hanna Li, Erin Fin; Dianne Settles, Executive Assistant

Selected Publications

Kim Jinkyung, Park Tae-Ju, Kwon Namseop, Lee Dongmyeong, Kim Seunghwan, Kohmura Yoshiki, Ishikawa Tetsuya, Kim Kyong-Tai, Curran Tom, Je Jung Ho: Dendritic planarity of Purkinje cells is independent of Reelin signaling. Brain structure & function May 2014.

George Britta, Fan Qingfeng, Dlugos Christopher P, Soofi Abdulsalam A, Zhang Jidong, Verma Rakesh, Park Tae-Ju, Wong Hetty, Curran Tom, Nihalani Deepak, Holzman Lawrence B: Crk1/2 and CrkL form a hetero-oligomer and functionally complement each other during podocyte morphogenesis. Kidney international Feb 2014.

Tom Curran: Making Strides for Children with Cancer: What's New in Research and Treatment at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Tom Curran - Collaborations to Advance Pediatric Brain Tumor Research. Pediatric Cancer Online Summit October 2013.

Gajjar Amar, Stewart Clinton F, Ellison David W, Kaste Sue, Kun Larry E, Packer Roger J, Goldman Stewart, Chintagumpala Murali, Wallace Dana, Takebe Naoko, Boyett James M, Gilbertson Richard J, Curran Tom: Phase I Study of Vismodegib in Children with Recurrent or Refractory Medulloblastoma: A Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium Study. Clinical cancer research : an official journal of the American Association for Cancer Research 19(22): 6305-12, Oct 2013.

Park T-J, Curran T: Essential roles of Crk and CrkL in fibroblast structure and motility. Oncogene Oct 2013.

Gurung Buddha, Feng Zijie, Iwamoto Daniel V, Thiel Austin, Jin Guanghui, Fan Chen-Min, Ng Jessica M Y, Curran Tom, Hua Xianxin: Menin epigenetically represses Hedgehog signaling in MEN1 tumor syndrome. Cancer research 73(8): 2650-8, Apr 2013.

Wang Yu, Davidow Lance, Arvanites Anthony C, Blanchard Joel, Lam Kelvin, Xu Ke, Oza Vatsal, Yoo Jin Woo, Ng Jessica M Y, Curran Tom, Rubin Lee L, McMahon Andrew P: Glucocorticoid compounds modify smoothened localization and hedgehog pathway activity. Chemistry & biology 19(8): 972-82, Aug 2012.

The Story with Dick Gordon: Careless Science. American Public Media & North Carolina Public Radio May 2012.

George Britta, Verma Rakesh, Soofi Abdulsalam A, Garg Puneet, Zhang Jidong, Park Tae-Ju, Giardino Laura, Ryzhova Larisa, Johnstone Duncan B, Wong Hetty, Nihalani Deepak, Salant David J, Hanks Steven K, Curran Tom, Rastaldi Maria Pia, Holzman Lawrence B: Crk1/2-dependent signaling is necessary for podocyte foot process spreading in mouse models of glomerular disease. The Journal of Clinical Investigation 122(2): 674-692, February 2012.

Curran Tom: Q&A: Tom Curran on translational research. Cancer Discovery 2(2): 99, Feb 2012.

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Last updated: 09/09/2014
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